Despite winning their first English top-flight in three decades last season, there seems to have been slight unrest amongst Liverpool fans about the lack of transfer activity. However, that changed on Friday. The Reds signed Italian-born midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich for an initial fee of £20million, with potential add-ons of £5million.
Liverpool doing things differently
It seems this summer is one of English football clubs bringing in players for now, rather than bringing younger players to develop. The Reds neighbours Everton brought in Allan and James Rodriguez who are in their late twenties, while 31-year-old Gareth Bale is set for a return to old club Tottenham.
While Liverpool have specialised in developing players, polishing diamonds such as Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and youth product Trent Alexander-Arnold. The signing of Thiago is certainly a different way of the Reds doing things.
Thiago is a class act
The signing looks to be one hell of a coup for Liverpool, as arguably there is no player like the 29-year-old in world football. Liverpool were unlikely to break their policy signing younger players and developing them for a player who was not special.
The Spanish international has proven in recent years his quality and sheer class on the ball. While he is considered as a defensive midfielder, but he is the sort of player that is a deep-lying playmaker, rather than just a midfield destroyer. Last season he had a pass completion rate of 82.6 passes per 90 minutes in the German Bundesliga last season, the best rate of any player in the German top-flight.
In many ways signing Thiago could be a subtle change in how Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp wants to play the game. Often, the Reds can bypass the centre of midfield, with full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold often provided the first port of call for the centre-backs.
The ball is often then moved forward to the teams front players. The likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum are good players. However, none have the technical ability and vision of Thiago. Signing the experienced midfielder gives Liverpool a new dimension. He can provide forward momentum from the centre of the park. His guile, vision and ability to play penetrating forward passes are major assets to any team.
Bad news for Liverpool’s rivals
Liverpool were by far the best team in the English Premier League last season. They are also the team to beat this season, even with any new additions to their already strong squad. The signing of Thiago and the impending arrival of Diego Jota from Wolves has certainly added to Jurgen Klopp’s options for this season.
The reigning champions signing Thiago could mean very bad news for their rivals. An area of the Liverpool team that was highly effective, if limited in an attacking sense, their central midfielder has been massively upgraded with the signing of the highly experienced former Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Could the signing of Thiago prove decisive in Liverpool’s success this season?
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