Reports in Germany have claimed that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has asked the club to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who appears determined to leave the Allianz Arena after seven years in search of a new challenge.
Thiago only has one more year left on his current Bayern contract and there has been no agreement on fresh terms. Liverpool have been heavily linked with the 29-year-old, despite regular warnings from Klopp that transfer spending may be limited this summer.
Based on everything the club has done over the last few years, it feels like a transfer that would be very ‘un-Liverpool’. But if Thiago is available on the cheap, it might actually be a viable move.
It was reported in Germany earlier this week that Thiago had surprised Bayern by rejecting the four-year contract that he had initially been holding out for in the negotiations. It was upon turning down that deal he is said to have informed the Bundesliga champions he wants to leave.
The latest from German publication Bild claims that Thiago’s ambition is to join Liverpool and that Klopp has asked the club to try and sign him.
The suggestion is that personal terms have already been agreed with Thiago, whose estimated current £200,000 weekly salary would be enough to immediately put him right at the very top of Liverpool’s pay structure alongside Mohamed Salah.
It was made clear earlier in the week that Liverpool have not yet presented an offer to Bayern and that may be unlikely until the two clubs are closer together in terms of valuation.
Bild suggest Liverpool will pay a maximum of £23m, which is up from the approximate £18m they were previously said to be prepared to go to. But Bayern are still asking for £36m, a figure that would put Thiago in the top five most expensive Liverpool signings ever.
Spending, though, will have to be carefully limited because of the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis – Liverpool even wanted to make use of the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme to pay non-playing staff until a public backlash forced a re-think – so that might be a tough ask.
In the last few days, Klopp has consistently warned that spending big sums isn’t likely.
“To strengthen the squad you need money and these are uncertain times. Obviously, uncertain times means for some clubs we cannot do what we would do in non-uncertain times,” the Liverpool boss said prior to the midweek clash with Arsenal.
“Ask me can we develop the squad and it is probably possible, but only with real money.
“We have talents ourselves, big talents, and players who can make big steps in our squad. But buying now? If we have money, we will spend. If we do not know if we will have money, we probably will not spend that much. That is how it is.”
A few days earlier, Klopp said he is happy to ‘leave the door open’ to new arrivals, but suggested that the biggest challenge is actually finding players who can genuinely improve the current squad, who are currently reigning English, European and world champions.
“I'd like to leave the door open for players," Klopp said. "Whether that's young players or experienced players who didn't play exactly as much as they maybe wanted, it's difficult to answer the question because of how the situation is.
"If there is an opportunity for us then we will try to improve the squad but I don't know if it's possible, it's really hard to improve the group. With a team like us, how can you buy a player with the same quality as Bobby [Firmino] or Sadio [Mane]? It's not possible.”