Italy v Spain - UEFA European U21 Championships: Final

Manchester United could sign Thiago Alcântara by this Wednesday


Despite Barcelona’s assurances to Thiago Alcântara that the 22 year old would receive regular playing time this season, it appears the midfielder is ready to sign for Manchester United.

The £17 million move could be completed perhaps as early as this week and is believed to be a five year deal that will drastically improve Alcântara’s current £30,000 a week contract.

United are gearing up to depart Wednesday on a three week pre-season tour of the far east where the club will travel to Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.

While the deal for Alcântara is unlikely to be completed before the team’s departure, the 22 year old could meet up with his new teammates somewhere during their travels, assuming his fitness is up to snuff. There’s no reason to believe it won’t be.

Alcântara is fresh off of captaining Spain Under-21 team to the Euro 2013 championship, where he produced a number of spell-binding performances, headlined by the hat-trick he notched in the 4-2 victory over Italy in the final.

The Spaniard would bring a significant attacking threat into United’s midfield, an element that, despite claiming the 2012-13 Premier League title, was conspicuously absent from the side.  Alcântara’s quickness and skill would provide a creative attacking force that could be the perfect counter-balance to Michael Carrick’s pass-master approach.

Thiago would mark Moyes’ first major deal as United manager after signing under-the-radar right-back Guillermo Varela from Penarol on June 6th. Adding the Spaniard to the United midfield could squash the chances of Moyes’ bringing Marouane Fellaini to the club after speculation had linked the United manager with a move for his former player at Goodison Park.

In Moyes’ first press conference with the club last Friday he declined to comment on reports surrounding the potential signing of Alcântara saying only that he will “inform the supporters as much as I can.”

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).