Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is considering a move back to his native Spain, with a number of LaLiga clubs alerted to his readiness to leave Anfield
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could be about to lose another Kop star as Spain international Thiago Alcantara nears the exit door.
The 32-year-old is considering a move back to his native Spain, where a number of LaLiga clubs have been alerted that he is ready to leave Anfield. He has just 12 months left on his current deal, a situation similar to the summer of 2020 when he left Bayern Munich for Merseyside in a £20m transfer.
The Spain international has become a firm favorite with Liverpool fans, although injuries saw him play just 18 Premier League games last season. But as in the cases of captain Jordan Henderson and Brazil international Fabinho, who are both on their way to Saudi Arabia, Klopp ideally does not want to lose Thiago either.
However, Klopp has never kept a player against his will and if Thiago forces a move through, Klopp will reluctantly stand aside. However, it will accelerate Liverpool’s push to add to the midfield signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.
Liverpool have bowed to the £70m price tag Crystal Palace have placed on Cheick Doucoure, while Real Madrid have insisted another Anfield target, Aurelien Tchouameni, is not for sale.
Klopp is also interested in Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch, Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat, while Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips has been mentioned. With Thiago now also set for the exit door, the need to bring in new signings has reached a critical level.
Jurgen Klopp had a spring in his step following the swift signings of midfield stars Alexis MacAllister and Dominik Szoboszlai. World Cup winner Mac Allister and Hungary captain Szoboszlai were brought to Merseyside for less than £100m and with plenty of time to bed the duo entered the pre-season program a whiff of heaven for the Liverpool boss still reeling from last season’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Hoping to land another top-quality operator for the Anfield engine room, it looked like the departures of Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be more than compensated for.
A reboot complete with younger energy and know-how to back up a forward line brimming with goalscoring potential in the form of Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo had The Kop willing to start the season now.
Klopp is said to be well over his end-of-season depression. His beaming smile had returned on the training pitch and, having won his battle with the Anfield bean counters over a slimmed-down sequence of friendlies as opposed to running up the air with matches across the globe, the die was cast for a new campaign.
But then the Saudi Arabia factor suddenly came to throw a spoke in Liverpool’s wheel as the squad left for their training camp in Germany with a couple of friendlies.
Fabinho, who made 53 appearances for Liverpool and Brazil last season, was left on Merseyside to discuss a £40million move to join former Wolves and Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo at Al Ittihad.
Meanwhile, skipper Jordan Henderson was involved in Germany despite talks over a £700,000-a-week move to Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq underway.
Klopp’s worst fears were realized in his homeland on the eve of Wednesday’s friendly against Bundesliga II side Karlsruher when he was forced to withdraw his long-serving captain from the game after a £12m transfer fee was agreed between the two clubs.
And if Klopp didn’t have enough distractions on the eve of an important season, he was informed that Al Hilal had launched a £45m bid for Luis Diaz. It was quickly knocked back, but with the colossal salaries on offer, Diaz can’t be blamed if his head had been turned.
There are also fears at the club that Mo Salah will also be targeted by the super-rich Saudis, who are quickly proving that the Saudi Pro League is not just a retirement home for Premier League players approaching their sell-by date.
“You always need problems in a pre-season and it’s about overcoming them,” he stressed. But Klopp referred to tinkering with his formations and not losing two key components of his side.
Make no mistake, it’s a club decision to let Fabinho and Henderson leave because on the financial side it makes sense, but not when you’re building for a new season.
In an ideal world, Klopp would have liked the Anfield hierarchy to have kept James Milner because of the 37-year-old’s position in the dressing room – ditto Henderson at the age of 33.
Liverpool insiders suggest in Klopp’s view this is a change of guard far too soon as he looks for suitable replacements with the big Premier League kick-off looming.