Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed Thiago Alcantara will be sold if he wishes to leave, with Liverpool the side most heavily linked.
Thiago has emerged as a surprise target for the Reds over the past fortnight, with sources in both Germany and his native Spain claiming a deal could be close.
Now Argentinian journalist Juan Pablo Varsky, said to be a reputable source who was early on in reports of moves for Mario Balotelli and Sadio Mane, has declared a move worth €35 million will be agreed “next week.”
The reliable Fabrizio Romano has added that “Liverpool are interested as Thiago would love to join Liverpool—but official talks have not started yet and many clubs are going to contact his agent.”
There is no confirmation or denial of interest from England so far, with the Merseyside press quiet, but rumours should still be taken with a pinch of salt.
One certainty, however, is that if Thiago is set on not extending his deal with Bayern beyond 2021, he will be sold this summer, with Rummenigge confirming as much in an interview with Bild.
Rummenigge added that there had been no contact with Liverpool at this stage, but conceded that “if he wants to do that, we have to deal with it.”
“We negotiated seriously with him and fulfilled all his wishes, but it seems that he wants to do something new towards the end of his career,” Rummenigge explained.
“We definitely didn’t have any contact to Liverpool at all. If he wants to do that, we have to deal with it.
“We don’t want to lose any player next year for free, I can say it that clearly.”
Thiago turned 29 in April, and would be an unlikely signing for Liverpool given their track record under FSG, but perhaps the Premier League champions will make an exception.
The Spain international is a world-class player of whom Jurgen Klopp is a big admirer, and with Adam Lallana leaving the club and Gini Wijnaldum entering the final year of his contract, a shakeup in midfield could be in the offing.
Klopp still has Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among his options for next season at this stage, along with Curtis Jones, James Milner and possibly Marko Grujic, but Thiago would be an upgrade on many of those.
He is a seven-time Bundesliga winner, two-time LaLiga winner, one-time Champions League winner and two-time Club World Cup winner, among other honours, and at around £31.5 million could be a strong addition.
A likely high wage along with his creeping age are certainly red flags, but given his style he could play well into his 30s—though so could Wijnaldum, for example.
It could be that more develops over the coming days, particularly as Liverpool are set to have scouts at the DFB-Pokal final between Bayern and Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.