After a summer of speculation Liverpool’s new midfielder is finally unveiled and Thiago Alcantara has big ambitions in the Premier League.
Liverpool have today announced the signing of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on a four-year contract. The deal sees Liverpool pay around £20million up front with another £5million of potential add-ons.
The Spaniard will take the number six shirt previously occupied by Dejan Lovren, the same he wore during his time with Bayern Munich. Speaking on LFCTV this afternoon, Thiago made clear that he feels a connection to the club and expects to win trophies on Merseyside:
“When the years are passing, you are trying to win as much as you can – and when you win, you want to win more. I think this club describes what I am as well; I want to achieve all of the goals, win as many trophies as possible.”
“It also [has] this kind of family [feeling] that I need because we [like to] have a very close relationship with the club and I think I will feel this, I will have this feeling, with this club as well.
“[The fans] are not more excited than I am, for sure not! It is not about saying words, it is about doing the things. I will give my heart on the field to my teammates, the club and also to the fans.”
The midfielder has spent two spells with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, at Barcelona and Bayern, winning four league titles and a Champions League together. His first meeting with his former boss will come in November’s Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.
FSG willing to spend to bring in “exceptional player”
The signing of a big-name 29-year-old marks a departure from Liverpool’s usual transfer dealings under the ownership of the Fenway Sports Group. The Reds have spent big on players like Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk in recent years but they were considerably younger and were viewed as players with the potential to improve.
Approaching 30, Thiago is already at his peak but is of such quality that Liverpool felt it a worthwhile outlay for a player who won the treble with Bayern last year. He featured as playmaker for the Bavarians and brings qualities that few else in the world possess to Anfield. He made more passes than any other player in the recent Champions League final victory and helped set up the winning goal with an incisive forward pass.
His former Bayern coach Hansi Flick spoke about the departing midfielder in glowing terms on Thursday:
“Thiago is an exceptional player who spent seven hugely successful years here. He’s a wonderful person and an outstanding professional. It was very emotional today when he said goodbye to us all.”
Under Jurgen Klopp Liverpool’s midfield has been very effective but sometimes lacks a degree of creativity that Manchester City boast in that department. The Reds’ full-backs tend to operate as wide play-makers to take the burden off the midfield trio but Thiago will give them a different option in the middle.
Barcelona interested in Wijnaldum
It had previously been reported that Liverpool would only make a move for Thiago if they offloaded one of their existing midfielders, with Gini Wijnaldum linked with a move to Barcelona to join former national team coach Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman is yet to sign an extension on his current deal which ends next summer, but seems likely to stay with an official bid from Barcelona yet to materialise.
Speaking in Friday’s press conference ahead of the Chelsea game, Klopp said that Thiago’s arrival “has no impact on anybody’s future in a negative way. There will be no impact.”
Thiago joins Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones as Liverpool’s midfield options. The Spaniard is expected to become a part of Klopp’s first-choice side but appears unlikely to feature from the start in Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge having only recently returned to pre-season with Bayern.