Thiago Alcantara is closing in on his move to Liverpool and the importance of him in the Bayern squad has been highlighted with an “emotional” goodbye to his team-mates.
It’s no secret that the Reds are getting an absolute world-class, elite-level performer on the pitch, but that’s not the only area of a player’s game that Jurgen Klopp and the gang look at.
In fact, it’s arguable that the Reds consider the personality and character of a player just as important as their technical traits, as Klopp has built such a close-knit squad which all seem genuinely delighted to be around each other.
Training is often portrayed as hanging out with mates, even if it’s really the most intense work session that most of them will ever experience in their careers, while the scenes of celebrations we’ve witnessed over the past couple of years backup what we see on social media: the dressing room is one big, happy unit.
Judging by the esteem in which he has been held at Bayern Munich, Thiago will fit right in.
Manager Hansi Flick faced the media on Thursday ahead of his side’s start to the new season and had words of gratitude and appreciation for the midfielder as a person, as much as a player – it’s clear they will miss him just as much as the Reds will delight in having him.
“Thiago is an exceptional player who spent seven hugely successful years here,” he said.
“He’s a wonderful person and an outstanding professional. It was very emotional today when he said goodbye to us all.”
The Reds have had a couple of emotional departures of their own in recent seasons, notably this summer with Adam Lallana, a popular member of the dressing room, best friends with the Liverpool captain and one of Klopp’s early protagonists.
It seems they are about to restock the midfield line with another equally impressive character, which along with his on-the-ball abilities should boost the team’s chances of continuing their success.
As with many new arrivals, it can take time for a new player to feel comfortable and fit in, but as is evidenced with January arrival Takumi Minamino, once they are in a good place off the pitch, they can show enormous quality on it – the difference in the Japanese international between even June and now is highly noticeable.
Thiago can hopefully settle in quickly and start showing his incredible talent in a Liverpool shirt, forging new and just as equally strong links with the club and team-mates on Merseyside as he clearly did in Bavaria.