Liverpool have been linked with a move for Thiago Alcantara all summer. To find out what is really going on behind the scenes, we look at the deal from three different points of view – Liverpool, Bayern Munich and the player and his representatives.
The view from… Liverpool
There is no doubt that Thiago has the quality to play for Liverpool but at the moment, reports he will move to Anfield this summer have to be kept in perspective. Liverpool have not made an approach to Bayern Munich for the midfielder and they have not held any talks about signing him.
Asked to react to the reports in the German media that talks have started, one source said: “Total nonsense. Just because the media says something is going to happen, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”
Thiago is one of thousands of players Liverpool watch closely and they would be interested in signing him under different circumstances. Those circumstances could come into play next summer, but it looks more likely that Thiago will move to another club during this window.
So why are Liverpool reluctant to make a move now? Well, Thiago is 29 and he will be out of contract in 10 months. It simply would not make sense for Liverpool to spend €30m on a player they could sign for nothing next summer, especially when they already have world-class midfielders who can play the No 6 and No 8 roles.
Liverpool have an embarrassment of riches in midfield. Why make a big investment on a transfer fee and wages when you already have midfielders such as Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Gini Wijnaldum?
Timing is everything in the transfer market and if this was next summer then you could make a strong case for Liverpool signing Thiago – even at 30. Wijnaldum will be out of contract then and if he isn’t going to get a new deal then it would be a no-brainer to sign Thiago for nothing.
As far as Wijnaldum is concerned, there are currently no talks about extending his contract. He is relaxed about the situation and will continue to give 100 per cent. The fact there are no talks at present does not necessarily mean he will leave Anfield this summer
He is regarded at the club as being an incredible professional and a new contract offer should not be ruled out. He is highly valued and Jurgen Klopp knows he can rely on him next season regardless of what is going on with his contract.
Thiago would like to play for Klopp but at the moment it is difficult to see how that is going to happen. The message coming out of Anfield is loud and clear: a big-money move for a 29-year-old we don’t really need does not make sense, especially because he will be out of contract in a matter of months.
The view from… Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich are not used to their players telling them they want to leave. They are one of the most powerful clubs in the world and they normally decide when it’s time for one of their players to say goodbye.
It is fair to say the Bayern hierarchy find what has happened with Thiago strange and difficult to understand. Talks about extending his contract were going well and everyone was ready to sign when Thiago asked for more time to think about his future. Soon after, he announced he wanted to leave.
There were no arguments and no personal problems. Thiago just told Bayern he wanted a new challenge. Although Bayern are surprised by his decision, they will not stand in his way. Chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says he will be allowed to leave for a “fair price” and Bayern are known to be looking for €30m.
Manager Hansi Flick thinks Thiago should move to the Premier League and that is where Bayern are likely to get the highest transfer fee – unless he moves to Paris Saint-Germain.
So far Bayern have not had any approaches for Thiago and Rummmenigge has said on the record there has been no contact with Liverpool.
They would prefer to sell him now rather than watch him leave for nothing next summer. For the time being though, their focus is on their Champions League quarter final against Barcelona on Friday night.
Helping Bayern win the European Cup for the sixth time would be the perfect way for Thiago to say goodbye.
The view from… Thiago
It is now or never as far as Thiago is concerned. He will be 30 in April and he could have taken the easy option by signing the new contract Bayern put in front of him.
It was an attractive offer but he wants a new challenge. In seven seasons in Munich he has won seven Bundesliga titles. What else is there left for him to prove in Germany except winning the Champions League?
He has won league titles in Spain and Germany and now it is time for something new. He would love to work with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Klopp has spoken in glowing terms about him in the past. However just because Klopp rates someone, it does not mean Liverpool are going to sign them.
Another club Thiago has been linked with is Manchester City. Pep Guardiola was the Bayern manager when they signed Thiago in 2013 and there has recently been talk of City making a move for him this summer. That seems unlikely as things stand. City are not looking at signing midfielders this summer and they don’t need to replace David Silva because they have Phil Foden.
Thiago is one of the most naturally talented players in the world and there are plenty of Premier League clubs who would like to sign him. He will only move to a club who are in a position to challenge for major honours. At the moment the noises coming out of Liverpool and City are that he is an extremely talented player, but not one who is an active target this summer.
The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.
A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.