Reports last week picked up plenty of steam on the continent than in England over Liverpool negotiating a transfer for Bayern Munich central midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Rumours have been fuelled by Bayern Munich stating “Thiago wants to do something different at the end of his career”.
Since then, social media has been rife with Thiago to Liverpool reports and memes, yet there is nothing about this rumour that makes sense for the Reds. Thiago to Liverpool seems to be the 2020 version of 2019’s Philippe Coutinho to Liverpool rumour.
Thiago’s style of play does not fit into the way in which Jurgen Klopp sets out his team. Thiago is a deep-lying midfielder preferring to pick passes than to press and hurry opposing players. No offence to Thiago as he is a good player, but that is all he is… a good player that has played for great teams.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick is retooling the side and appears to not have Thiago in his plans. The Spain international was one of Pep Guardiola’s first signings at Bayern Munich luring the midfielder from Barcelona where they had worked together previously. Guardiola’s attempts to make Bayern into Barcelona didn’t work out completely and resulted in the Germans failing to win the Champions League in spite of continued domestic trophies.
The most important reason that Thiago is being linked to Liverpool right now is due to his Bayern Munich contract expiring. His £205,000-per-week deal expires in 2021. With less than 12 months on his contract, Thiago is angling for a new deal at Bayern or somewhere else. It likely won’t be Liverpool. Will it?
Thiago only recorded three goals and claimed zero assists in the Bundesliga this past season while appearing in 24 games. With Joshua Kimmich now playing more games in central midfield, Thiago has become, surplus to Flick’s requirements. He didn’t start the team’s German Cup final win against Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend and came on — along with Countinho — as a second-half sub.
Rumours persist that Liverpool will pay around £30 million for Thiago’s services. However, it is another midfielder in the Bundesliga that Liverpool are more likely to sign. Schalke’s 21-year-old midfielder Weston McKennie is linked to the club and could be sold to the Reds. McKennie scored three goals (same as Thiago) in 28 Bundesliga appearances.
McKennie is like a younger Georginio Wijnaldum that can play throughout the midfield and spends the 90 minutes of games relentlessly running. McKennie is similar to a lot of other young American players. Scouted by German teams and signed as teenagers due to the development on offer compared to the long and convoluted road to professional football (soccer) in North America.
Transfermarkt has McKennie valued at £18m and coupled with his youth, makes far more sense for Liverpool to target. Add in that Schalke tend to sell their best players as they often leave for free later on (Joel Matip, Mesut Ozil, Leroy Sane), and McKennie’s arrival seems far more likely.
Having both Thiago and McKennie — or even both — would block the route for Curtis Jones to get into the side.
Liverpool are unlikely to spend much money this summer for a second straight offseason. The last few months have shown Liverpool do need an attacking midfielder capable of cutting through defences (that’s not Thiago). That type of player isn’t likely to arrive but the hard-charging McKennie could.