When reports surfaced in Germany that Liverpool were considering a deal for Thiago Alcantara it seemed unlikely, but now a Spanish paper has further fuelled speculation.
Last week, German publication Sport Bild drew upon Jurgen Klopp‘s historical praise for the midfielder as his contract talks with Bayern Munich hit an impasse.
It was claimed that Thiago had made a “surprising turn,” and Liverpool were positioned as one of the most likely destinations if he opted to leave ahead of the expiry of his deal in 2021.
This seemed farfetched, given he is already 29 and there are a wealth of midfield options at Anfield, and particularly as a big-money deal for Timo Werner has already been scrapped.
However, building on the rumours from Sport Bild, Spanish newspaper Sport have claimed that Liverpool are now “very close” to signing the Spain international.
They claim “negotiations are very advanced between the player and club and only the economics have to be worked out between the two sides,” with a fee of €35 million (£31.5m) mooted.
It is even suggested that “the agreement between the player and Liverpool is done,” but while the club cannot afford to pay the asking price up front, a possible reduction or staggered payment could be arranged.
Thiago is one of the best midfielders in world football, and there is no denying the attraction of playing for the Premier League champions.
With journalists in Spain and Germany now in unison, there is more weight to the rumours, though they should certainly still be taken with a pinch of salt.
If Thiago were to join, it would surely come at the expense of one of Klopp’s current crop, and perhaps the most likely to be sacrificed would be Gini Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum is also 29, with his contract due to run out in 2021, and it could be that with no extension on the horizon a decision has been made to pursue an alternative.
The debate could rage on over whether Thiago is a clear upgrade on Wijnaldum, especially given the demands of Klopp’s system, but if speculation grows over the coming weeks, that could be the most feasible outcome.