Does signing Thiago Alcântara actually make any sense?

Liverpool’s resistance to spend big in the transfer market is beginning to frustrate some fans. But despite the necessity to build from a position of strength, is Thiago Alcântara really the key to take the English champions to the next level?

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The first factor to consider is, of course, the price. Thiago is heading into the final year of his contract, with Bayern Munich looking increasingly desperate to earn what they can for the Spaniard. The German Champions are reportedly demanding somewhere in the region of £36 million for the midfielder before they risk losing him for nothing in a year.

Thiago himself will be keen to get his move in this transfer window due to the second factor in Liverpool’s link to him; His age. Alcântara turns 30 next April, meaning that this move will more than likely be his final big-money transfer to a top European club.

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Liverpool themselves have typically had a pragmatic approach to transfers under Jurgen Klopp and Fenway Sports Group, with typical targets for the Reds being under 26-years-old and yet to hit their peak in regards to ability (with notable exceptions being Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker, who the club paid big money for).

Thiago would be a departure from this trend, but as proven with Van Dijk- Liverpool will break their transfer structure if necessary. However, Alcântara is not only outside of the typical age range for a Liverpool signing, but he also comes with a considerable injury record.

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The Spaniard has suffered 13 different injuries in the past 3 seasons with Bayern, missing 35 games with various complaints ranging from torn ankle ligaments to groin strains. To say Thiago is injury-prone would be an understatement at this point.

If Klopp and his team look past the 29-year-old’s injury record, they will see a very good footballer. Thiago excels in tight spaces, with passing and dribbling being key to his performances in the Bundesliga. His most comparable counterpart at Liverpool would most likely be Georginio Wijnaldum, although he can also be likened to Naby Keita in certain aspects of his style of play.

When compared to Wijnaldum, Thiago can hold his own when on top form but doesn’t necessarily outshine Gini to the levels you would expect considering his current price tag. His ‘best’ season at Bayern under Carlo Ancelotti in 2016/17 saw him score 6 goals and get 5 assists as Bayern went on to lift the Bundesliga title once again. Wijnaldum’s ‘best’ season at Liverpool (which coincidentally came during the same campaign) saw the Dutchman score 6 goals and bag 9 assists as Liverpool finished 4th.

In more recent years, however, Thiago has certainly continued his previous form at a more impressive level (statistically at least). The number 6 scored 3 goals last season for the German giants while Wijnaldum managed 4 for Liverpool, with neither of the players making an assist all season. However, Wijnaldum played every game bar one in Liverpool’s title-winning campaign, whereas Alcântara played just 24 games due to injury (an ever-present threat during his career).

As of now, it’s difficult to see whether Liverpool are playing hardball with Bayern in the hope that they crack first and let Thiago go for a lower amount, or if the interest is genuinely not there due to a combination of the reasons above and the financial impact of COVID-19 (which I will not even begin to pretend to understand).

The key factor, however, as is true with practically everything with this current Liverpool side, is trust. Trusting the club that have got so much right in the past 5 years to continue to do so is paramount in maintaining the momentum that Jurgen Klopp and his staff have built since arriving.

Make no mistake about it, Jurgen decides who Liverpool do and don’t sign, he isn’t a manager to be kept on a leash by the higher-ups the same way Brendan Rodgers was during his tenure at the club. If Jurgen wants a player and the money is available, Jurgen will get that player. Only time will tell.