Jurgen Klopp has been a long-time admirer of Thiago Alcantara. That much is certain.
The Liverpool manager first came into close contact with the midfielder when he made the move to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2013.
Bayern had given Klopp one of his lowest moments in the game just a few months earlier when they edged out his Borussia Dortmund side in the Champions League final at Wembley.
That his arch-nemeses went and spent the best part of €25m just a couple of months later to bring the gifted technician to Bavaria from Barcelona will have only added to Klopp’s Bayern-induced headache.
Some years later, after watching the Bundesliga from a far on Merseyside, the Liverpool boss name-checked Thiago when discussing his team’s decision to bring Naby Keita to the club from RB Leipzig.
“[Keita] is the best player in the league. I’d have preferred him this season!” said Klopp. “Last year together with Thiago Alcantara they were the best in the league.”
That Klopp mentioned Thiago, unprompted, when discussing the arrival of his new £52million arrival spoke volumes about how much he rated the Spanish schemer.
Three years on, it is Thiago who is being linked with Liverpool. And quite heavily, too.
Earlier this week, it was reported in Germany that Liverpool had made contact with Bayern over Thiago.
The reports suggested the Spain international has his heart set on an exit this summer and the Reds are his preferred destination.
“We negotiated seriously with him and fulfilled all his wishes,” Bayern CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said last month.
“But it seems that he wants to do something new towards the end of his career. We definitely didn’t have any contact to Liverpool at all. If he wants to do that, we have to deal with it.
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“We don’t want to lose any player next year for free. I can say it that clearly.”
Further reports on Sunday, this time from France, claimed Thiago had reached an agreement with the Reds. A four-year deal was to be signed and the midfielder’s house hunting had reached a successful end.
And while it’s difficult to imagine Thiago thumbing through the Right Move app midway through a 12-day tournament in Portugal to conclude the Champions League, the certainty of the reports did grab the Reds fanbase.
Anfield sources, for their part, are remaining steadfast. There is no interest in bringing the player in this summer, they say. Four times the ECHO have been told this summer that Thiago is not under consideration.
Talk of contracts being agreed and properties being found are the stuff of fantasy to those closest to the people with the power to make Thiago a Liverpool player.
Like Nicolas Pepe the year before, is this a transfer that has simply gathered pace because people want it so? The Reds were repeatedly linked with…