FootballPremier League

Thiago Alcantara is undoubtedly a world class midfielder… but he wouldn’t be right for Liverpool

July 7, 2020

IT always seemed likely that Liverpool would look to the Bundesliga to strengthen their squad this summer, but having missed out on long-term target Timo Werner to Chelsea the Anfield club have now reportedly turned their attention to Bavaria. Indeed, if there is to be a summer saga involving the newly crowned Premier League champions it seems it will revolve around Thiago Alcantara.

Reports out of Germany claim the Bayern Munich midfielder has broken off contract talks with his current club, informing them of his decision to leave. Liverpool are believed to be leading the pursuit for Thiago’s services and the player himself is thought to be keen on a switch to the Premier League this summer. 

This has got fans of the Merseyside club understandably excited. Big clubs make big signings and Thiago would certainly be a big signing. It would underline the level at which Liverpool are now operating. While the Reds not so long ago couldn’t reach as high in the transfer market as many of their rivals, it is Anfield that has become the Premier League’s most desirable destination for the game’s great and good.

So why doesn’t a Liverpool move for Thiago feel right? There is no doubting the Spanish international’s quality. He is among the best midfielders of his generation. So why would his arrival at Anfield feel out of sync with everything Jurgen Klopp and the club’s owners have built over the last few years?

Liverpool’s rise has come on the back of shrewd scouting and a highly effective transfer policy which has seen them get much more for their money than most other top level clubs. Even when they have spent big, like on the transfers of Alisson Becker and Virgil Van Dijk, those signings have been made to look like relative bargains in retrospect. Van Dijk would now cost double the £75 million paid for him two years ago.

What’s more, these two players had significant unfulfilled potential at the time of their arrival on Merseyside. They had yet to reach the top of the game. They were hungry and eager to prove themselves. The £145 million paid for Alisson and Van Dijk was an investment in the future, with the pair signed to be mainstays of the Liverpool side for years and years to come.

But to sign Thiago, Liverpool would have to part with around £50 million for a player who will turn 30 next April. A player who has already won all there is to win in the club game. Nobody can question Thiago’s professionalism, but his hunger won’t be as intense as many of Liverpool’s recent signings were. 

On top of this, Thiago’s fitness record would make him a risky signing. He has been injury prone all the way through his career, dating back to his Barcelona days. This is likely to be aggravated further as the Spaniard enters his 30s. Liverpool could be accused of hypocrisy and going against their own policy should they sign the Bayern man to a long term deal, with the Reds reportedly reluctant to hand Georginio Wijnaldum a contract extension of more than a year despite the Dutchman being the same age as Thiago.

Thiago’s arrival would be the signing for the sake of a signing. We have seen this sort of thing before from Premier League champions. Manchester United, for instance, spent big to sign Dimitar Berbatov despite having no obvious role for him just because they could and the opportunity was there.

Liverpool should try to be smarter. If Werner was their top target for the summer, why hasn’t another player in a similar mould been identified as an alternative? If Klopp wanted a forward to broaden his options in the final third, why is he now going after a central midfielder? Just because Liverpool can sign Thiago doesn’t mean they necessarily should.