Jurgen Klopp was convinced the moment that vindicated Liverpool’s need to secure the services of ‘perfect signing’ Thiago Alcantara came over drinks with his coaching staff during the 2020 Champions League final, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic.
Thiago, 29, was utterly irresistable in midfield for Bayern Munich after the Spaniard was crowned a European champion for the second time in his career following a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint Germain.
The former Barcelona maestro was close to signing a a lucrative new four-year contract with Bayern, worth around £12 million per year (£230,000 per week), prior to interest from Liverpool.
After being informed that Klopp wanted Thiago at Liverpool, everything suddenly changed. Having enjoyed a trophy-laden seven years in Germany, he informed the Bundesliga serial winners that he wanted to pursue a new challenge.
Klopp was desperate to land the player he regarded as “a game-changer”. The Liverpool boss fought tooth and nail for the deal to get done and ultimately FSG president Mike Gordon and sporting director Michael Edwards delivered.
For Liverpool, everything hinged on the financial outcome and trying to make sure the numbers worked after revenues were hit heavily following the ongoing ramifications of the global pandemic. They had long since known that Bayern’s asking price wouldn’t budge at €30 million (£27 million).
Edwards is a famously tough negotiator and the passage of time had strengthened Liverpool’s hand. The payment structure of the deal is nothing shy of extraordinary given the calibre of player they have signed.
Liverpool will pay a guaranteed £20 million with the rest related to add-ons. However, the Reds will only have to pay the fee in four £5 million yearly instalments.
To put that into context, Edwards just a day later was able to sell Ki-Jana Hoever – a player without a Premier League appearance – to Wolves in a deal which could rise to £13.5 million.
It’s arguably Liverpool’s biggest statement signing of the Premier League era and has provided a sense of excitement among supporters to cap off a truly remarkable summer window.
Just days after the completion of the deal, David Ornstien of The Athletic provided insight regarding the moment which prompted Klopp to convince the board that this was a deal the club simply had to get over the line.
Speaking in his weekly video Ask Ornstein, he said: “Liverpool needed no convincing but when Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff were watching the Champions League final over a drink – at Liverpool’s pre-season training camp in Austria – it underlined the fact that Thiago would be the perfect signing for their team and their club.
“The Liverpool players were starting to get excited about the idea of this happening and the deal really came together last week in the early part. Around Monday, I think, there was a breakthrough in talks that had been taking place over the weekend.
“Liverpool dispatched their club doctor, Jim Moxon, to begin the medical process in Germany. And then it was done for a fee in the region of €30m. Liverpool will pay around £5m per year for each of the four years of Thiago’s contract, plus some performance-related add-ons.
“So it would appear to be a fantastic transfer from a footballing and a financial perspective.”
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