Thiago Alcantara is set to become Liverpool’s second signing of the transfer window after a €30 million deal was finally agreed with Bayern Munich, which was reported by James Pearce of The Athletic.
The Spanish international will add even more depth to Jurgen Klopp’s plethora of midfield options.
Liverpool currently have seven midfielders on their books – not including Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic – in the form of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Curtis Jones, Naby Keïta and the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Extra competition for places is always welcome, and Thiago’s proven quality will likely see the Spaniard immediately deployed in Klopp’s preferred starting line-up.
This is particularly beneficial to club captain Henderson.
Liverpool’s irreplaceable skipper had an outstanding 2019/20 campaign after picking up the Football Writers Association Player of the Year award on route to the club’s Premier League title triumph last season.
He clocked up 30 PL appearances last term scoring four goals while providing five assists in total while helping the club achieve a record points total of 99.
However, it was concerning that Henderson missed the final four fixtures of the season due to a knee injury which in effect saw a huge drop off in performance levels for the Liverpool team.
Two of Klopp’s three defeats last season occurred when Henderson was out of the team and it was telling how reliant Liverpool have become on the influence of their captain following the skipper’s injury.
Liverpool’s acquisition of Thiago means that Klopp has the option of effectively rotating Henderson to preserve fitness levels while the former Barcelona maestro’s ability to dictate the tempo of possession will ease the workload for his teammates.
Henderson – who cost the club £20 million [BBC] back in 2011 – turned 30 back in June which means the England international will have to be managed more carefully this season if the Reds are to avoid another injury scare to that of last campaign.
Adding another midfield option not only reduces the risk of injury in a key position which is provenly the most physically demanding area of the squad, but increases competition for places, which eliminates any possibility of complacency kicking in.
An array of talent
Thiago offers Liverpool what was seemingly an impossible prospect at the start of the window of directly improving the starting XI at the club as Klopp will inherit a midfielder who is regarded as one of the best in the world in his particular position.
It also enables greater depth from the bench with the likes of Wijnaldum, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita all given a tougher task of breaking into the first-team as a result of another midfield arrival.
Tactically, it also raises the possibility of a change of shape from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 in some matches.
Thiago grants Klopp greater flexibility in terms of team selection and squad management and allows Henderson to be the best possible version of himself.
That makes the reported £20 million, plus a further £5 million linked to bonuses being spent on Thiago as another potential masterstroke from sporting director Michael Edwards in the transfer market.
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