Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool. It’s the transfer rumor whose refusal to die is almost as persistent as its refusal to make sense. The Bayern Munich pass master is entering the final year of his contract and the German super club have resolved to sell him this summer to avoid losing the naturalized Spanish international on a free next year.
£36m has been the mooted fee Bayern have been holding out for, which is obviously laughable considering the coronavirus-riddled transfer market, the 29-year-old’s atrocious injury record and the fact that they we all just watched them sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City for an extra £20m. Yeah, no thanks.
Nevertheless, the linkages have persisted to the point that breaking news now has Liverpool having agreed personal terms with the player himself. Both the Daily Mail and the Mirror report that the clubs are still far apart on a fee, with the Reds valuing the midfielder closer to £22m-£23m.
(Picture Michael Edwards pointing to his screen in a meeting with Bayern boss, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “I’m serious, it says £22m right here! This thing is never wrong.”)
A fee that low would change the dynamics entirely. If Liverpool could pull off a deal that brought in an 11-time league winning Spaniard for roughly the price of one Dominic Solanke, then things start looking not only palatable but downright necessary. This is because key to Jürgen Klopp’s Premier League champion side pushing on in a title defense next season will be more variety in a midfield currently short on creativity.
Thiago, when he is able to stay fit, provides such midfield playmaking at an elite level. The La Masia graduate is nothing like Liverpool have in their squad and would provide an artistry comparable to the likes of Andres Iniesta and David Silva to any side he graces. Bringing a player of his caliber would give Klopp with the deep-lying general Liverpool have arguably not had since Xabi Alonso left Anfield over a decade ago.
Klopp likes Thiago “a lot” and will surely be looking at the next evolution of his squad currently relying on a 21-year-old right back for the majority of their creativity. Pairing the ex-Barcelona star with a more defensively-minded midfielder in a double pivot could be the added wrinkle the Reds need to bamboozle plotting rivals next term.
Additionally, with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum (himself on a soon-to-be expiring deal) and Naby Keita for cover, Klopp wouldn’t have to rely on Thiago’s worrying injury record for numbers in the engine room.
For the right price, Thiago Alcantara is a no brainer. Maybe show them that laptop again, Michael.