20 Jun 2013

Barca tasked with convincing sought-after Thiago to stay

6:08 am on 20 June 2013

Barcelona face a delicate balancing act to convince their sought-after Spain under-21 playmaker Thiago Alcantara that his long-term future lies with the club and he can play a leading role with the La Liga champions next season.

The 22-year-old Barca academy graduate helped guide Spain to a 4-2 win over Italy in the European junior championships final on Wednesday, the captain netting a hat-trick.

Alcantara's contract runs until June 2015 and he's being groomed as the successor to the 33-year-old Xavi in central midfield - but he's reportedly frustrated at a lack of playing time and has attracted the attention of some of Europe's wealthiest clubs.

A clause in Thiago's Barca contract based on the number of appearances he makes per season means he could leave for 18 million euros this summer.