Riva del Garda - FC Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed his interest in bringing FC Barcelona starlet Thiago Alcantara to the club.
What started out as a normal question and answer session at the club's final press conference at their training camp in Trentino quickly became anything but, as Guardiola admitted he had spoken to the Bayern hierarchy about bringing the 22-year-old on board.
"I've asked [sporting director] Matthias Sammer and [CEO] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to get him, he's a very talented player," Guardiola said. Unused to such an open response, the murmurs of surprise among the media seemed to catch the Catalan off guard for a moment. Pressed to confirm his interest, the 42-year-old simply stated: "Yes".
"I don't know what will happen - he's a Barcelona player and I know him well from my time there with the reserve team," Guardiola continued, before emphasising that Alacantara is the only player on his wish list: "It's Thiago or nothing."
Nevertheless, Guardiola expressed his satisfaction with his current ensemble: "Everything's been great here [in Trentino], it's a wonderful place to come. I think we're a bit better than we were a week ago and I'm very happy with the players and everyone involved."
Guardiola provided clear evidence of that in repsonding to a question about Franck Ribery's love of playing practical jokes on team-mates: "He can also play jokes on me, no problem, everyone can. As long as he runs and runs and runs in training afterwards then it's not an issue."
On Thursday evening Bayern will host their final public training session in Italy, before returning to Germany on a direct flight to Stuttgart at 11:00 CET on Friday morning. On Saturday they will play a friendly against local side SG Sonnenhof Großaspach, while on Sunday a charity match against Hansa Rostock is lined up.