The hours following Liverpool’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad sparked one of the most out-of-the-blue transfer rumours this season.
According to SPORT, Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcântara is very close to joining the Reds as the Spaniard has reportedly agreed personal terms with the club, with the only snag now being the 29-year-old’s £31million price tag the German club have reportedly placed on the player.
SPORT have even reported that the player has said his goodbyes to fellow teammates with rumblings within the Bayern camp that Liverpool is the most likely destination for Thiago. Bayern manager Hans-Dieter Flick laid bare his stance on where he wants his player to be next season: “I hope that he won’t leave.” I don’t blame you, Hansi.
As with all Liverpool transfer gossip, it’s always wise to question the veracity of such claims – is this just a PR stunt or is it something that genuinely might happen?
Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this link discarded before it gains too much traction.
One thing is clear though – signing Thiago would be a massive upgrade for Jürgen Klopp’s side as squad depth is still lacking, proven by the thrashing from Pep Guardiola’s City side.
And yes, before anyone starts, that’s taking the fact into consideration that we’re currently champions of England, Club World Cup champions and reigning European champions.
We’re one of the biggest clubs in football – it’s not too outlandish to expect fans to call for us to finally spend like one.
Thiago is a master of all trades in midfield, having specialised as a holding midfielder in front of the defence, excelling as a box-to-box midfielder and also proving to have all the facilities to unlock defences as a ‘No.10’ with his passing range and eye for goal.
The Spaniard would instantly bring an element to our midfield that I believe we currently lack. While Naby Keïta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still vie to solidify themselves as the attacking component of our midfield trio, Thiago could instantly come in and provide that battle-tested experience in the attacking third the Reds often miss when the front three aren’t firing.
Interestingly enough – and this may be a reach – but I think these Thiago links could actually be a smoke screen for Georginio Wijnaldum to sign an extension with Liverpool.
The Dutch international hasn’t had the best of restarts since the league picked back up in June and, while I’m not even slightly advocating on calling it quits on Gini, links to a world-class midfielder in Thiago have the 29-year-old Wijnaldum looking over his shoulder.
As mentioned, Thiago doesn’t necessarily have to come in and provide that attacking spark if Klopp deems him more useful in other areas of the midfield, possibly leaving the likes of Wijnaldum expendable should the former Barcelona man make the move to Anfield.
Realistically, I don’t think Liverpool will be pursuing Thiago anytime soon – especially with the £31m fee reportedly needing to be paid in full. If the Reds weren’t willing to pull the trigger on a 24-year-old Timo Werner, I doubt they’d spend such a hefty fee on a player like Thiago whose best days are possibly behind him.
While this transfer doesn’t align with Liverpool’s typical transfer strategy since FSG took over, if there were a time to sign a veteran midfielder that would slide right into the starting eleven it would be now as Klopp’s Liverpool team is more or less in their prime. Why not spend on a world-class player ready for a fresh start in a new league?
I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one, Reds, but we can dream – can’t we?
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