If you’d told most Liverpool fans heading into the 2020 offseason that the club would manage the signing of Thiago Alcantara, the 29-year-old Spanish international and one of the world’s top midfielders, most Liverpool fans would have been skeptical.
In the end, though, the club completed the deal, pushing through a transfer for a base fee of just £20M plus add-ons, marking both a change of approach to recruitment for the club as well as what was for many neutral observers the signing coup of the summer.
They also beat out Bayern Munich and Barcelona to do so. The former is widely known—Bayern, of course, were his former club and had tabled an offer that by all accounts Thiago fully intended to sign in June before Liverpool made their move for him.
The latter has been less discussed, even if rumours of potential Barcelona interest in bringing their academy graduate back to the Camp Nou did emerge shortly before Thiago completed his move to join Jürgen Klopp’s defending Premier League champions.
Now, though, a report in The Guardian from Fabrizio Romano claims that Barcelona transfer chatter was more than just empty rumour mongering, with the Catalan club making a late push to sign Thiago only for the player to turn them down for the Reds.
Having spoken a number of times to Klopp and agreed personal terms with his soon-to-be club, Thiago was said to have been fully convinced and unwavering in his commitment to Liverpool as they worked out the finances of the deal with Bayern.
As for Bayern, they’re said to have been caught out by Thiago’s decision to abandon plans to sign a new deal to keep him in Germany—at a point where not just was the offer on the table but the club’s photographer was on hand to document its signing.