Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool or United: Where does he fit in?
With Liverpool and Manchester United battling for his services Thiago Alcantara is a man in demand… but which of the two rivals are most in need of the Bayern Munich superstar and where would he fit in?
- Thiago Alcantara is into the final year of his Bayern Munich deal
- He has long been linked with Liverpool but Manchester United are also keen
- The Germans will sell if Thiago wants to go after he helped deliver the Champions League
- Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are front-runners to secure the 29-year-old’s signature
- Manchester United are considering a swoop despite signing Donny van de Beek
He is one man who simply cannot get his name out of the football headlines this summer.
After announcing his desire to leave Bayern Munich and embrace a new challenge, Thiago Alcantara has set the transfer rumour mill into overdrive, with fresh speculation emerging by the day.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are front-runners for the 29-year-old’s signature, though are yet to come to an official agreement with Bayern. Thiago is currently away on international with Spain for their Nations League matches.
In recent weeks Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United look to have thrown their hat into the ring, and could yet make a late hijack attempt to make him the marquee summer signing at Old Trafford.
On Thursday night following international duty with Spain Thiago even admitted ‘Bayern is home’ and he would be willing to remain in Bavarian, if good enough offers are not made. Both teams must now pull their finger out to make an extraordinary coup.
As the player’s future gradually inches closer to being resolved, Sportsmail takes a look at which side would be best suited to Thiago’s talents, and where exactly the majestic Spanish playmaker would fit in.
Thiago Alcantara will leave Bayern Munich this summer though his destination is not yet sealed
Thiago is currently away with Spain on international duty for this month’s Nations League
The 29-year-old started Spain’s Nations League clash with Germany on Thursday night
Klopp’s side are in pole position for a reason. Thiago and the current Liverpool team look to be a match made in heaven.
Liverpool’s play is so finely tuned now under their German manager that only select, high-calibre pieces need to be added.
Thiago is one of said pieces, and the Reds have raised themselves up to such a status that the biggest names in the game want to come and play their football at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp is known to be a huge admirer of Thiago, and the signing would boost his side
Thiago possesses all the skills Klopp craves, while being blessed with innate abilities to read passes and sense space on the pitch in a way most players simply cannot.
Acquiring Thiago would be like Liverpool playing their own Kevin De Bruyne card, with the Spaniard and the Belgian sharing much of the same traits.
Klopp would implement Thiago straight into his midfield three, following a brief period of transition. The 29-year-old would be more than comfortable with playing Klopp’s football, given his very similar role at the Allianz.
Inserted alongside the bedrock of Liverpool’s midfield, Fabinho, Thiago would likely tandem alongside captain Jordan Henderson.
Captain Jordan Henderson would likely do the leg-work as Thiago sets about creating magic
His arrival could however spell bad news for Naby Keita (left) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
This would enable the England international to put in the leg work, while Thiago sets about his artistry and using his wide passing repertoire to open up channels for the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Increased attention on Thiago from Premier League sides would likewise play into Liverpool’s favour during matches, with space set to be freed up for the advancing Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool’s local lad has racked up doubles figures on the assists chart for the last two years running, and would be very much in line to make it a three-peat should Thiago arrive on Merseyside.
Below, Sportsmail observes how the Liverpool starting XI would look with the addition of the Bayern man.
Klopp would highly likely retain his tried and tested 4-3-3 formation, with Thiago and Henderson given license to roam on further forward than the patrolling general Fabinho.
Thiago’s arrival would spell danger for Naby Keita, who finished last season in strong form and looks to have continued this into summer break.
Keita, a very similar player to that of Thiago, would be left as a tantalising option from the bench for Liverpool with his energy and dynamism in the closing stages perhaps ripe for winning matches.
The Guinean however is desperate for a starting place, while Thiago’s arrival would also spell danger for the chances of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
When it comes to United, fitting in Thiago becomes a little more suspect.
The Red Devils are yet to make a move, and there is widespread suggestion that United’s name has been thrown into the hat by Bayern alone, in order to force Liverpool to meet their asking price.
Thiago previously rejected United during the David Moyes era, though would be an instant hit at Old Trafford if he were to sign on the dotted line.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows the arrival of Thiago would make Man United title challengers
Fitting him in would be quite the brainteaser however, given United have just announced the arrival of Dutch starlet Donny van de Beek.
The arrival of the Ajax man is the strongest signal yet that United will not be formally entering the Thiago race, though should things change Solskjaer would need to give serious consideration as to how to best utlilise the talents.
United could ill afford to have a situation similar to that of Barcelona with Antoine Griezmann, in which a superstar is signed and played out of position from the off.
With this in mind, Solskjaer would likely sequence his midfield and play through a 4-2-2-2 system, with it ranging flexibility.
Keeping the same defence in order, talisman Paul Pogba could sit in a more dominant midfield role alongside new boy Van de Beek, with Thiago and Bruno Fernandes just ahead.
Adding Thiago into the mix with Fernandes, Rashford and Pogba would make United fearsome
Fernandes has breathed fresh air into United since his January arrival, and would likely hit even greater heights with Thiago pulling the strings alongside.
This potential Spanish-Portuguese partnership would then provide a perfect foil for a striking duo of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, as United begin to boast world-class quality in every position.
Below is a glimpse of how the team could line up.
As can be immediately noted, the arrival of Thiago would likely have to see Solskajer sacrifice his blossoming front three trident, relegating Mason Greenwood back to the bench.
This could spell disaster for the youngster, who is progressing at such a rapid rate that at 18-years-old he is already in the senior England ranks, and a loan move isn’t even considered a possibility.
It would be a huge call by Solskjaer, but one which would go with little scrutiny given Thiago’s standing in European football.
Starlet Mason Greenwood could end up being limited by the potential arrival of the Spaniard
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