Jurgen Klopp has come clean on his admiration for Thiago Alcantara – but has played down his chances of signing for Liverpool.
Reports on Friday claimed Liverpool had already held ‘serious negotiations’ over a deal for the €35m-rated midfielder.
As per Sport, “negotiations are very advanced between the player and club and only the economics have to be worked out between the two sides”.
Liverpool, however, are believed to be unwilling to pay Bayern’s €35million asking price in full. As such, it’s reported they are looking to secure the 29-year-old, whose deal expires in 2021, for a lesser fee.
Klopp is said to be a “long-time admirer” of the Spain midfielder from his time as Borussia Dortmund boss.
However, despite an admission from Bayern Munich that he could leave this summer, Klopp isn’t certain of a deal.
Asked after Sunday’s win over Aston Villa if the Spain star is a summer target, Klopp gave a typical response.
Klopp replied: “Would you be surprised if I didn’t answer? I never answer this type of question!
“He’s a really good player I like a lot but I like many others out there. That’s all I have to say about him.”
Bayern do still hope to tie the player down to a new deal at the Allianz Arena.
However, with the player unwilling to sign at present, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has admitted Thiago could be sold.
“He is a top boy on and off the pitch,” he said.
”We had serious negotiations with him and fulfilled all of his wishes. But it looks like he might want to do something new again at the end of his career.
”We don’t want to lose him for free.
“We never had any contact with Liverpool. If he wants to go there, we will have to deal with it.”
Bayern have been linked with Chelsea target Kai Havertz as a replacement. Rummenigge, however, claims the Bayer Leverkusen star is not a player they can afford this summer.
Rummenigge added: “I’ll be very clear: We won’t be financially able to sign Havertz this year.
“Not just FC Bayern, but all of Europe are currently facing major financial challenges as long as it is not possible to play in front of spectators again.
“[Whether he goes abroad] is a decision that Bayer Leverkusen and the player have to make.
“To be honest, I’m the same as Rudi Völler as I hope Havertz stays in Leverkusen for at least another year. Because we are interested in competing for his signature.”
Reds duo under threat from Thiago signing
It’s reported Thiago’s potential arrival at Liverpool could place two players under threat, with doubts emerging over Gini Wijnaldum and Naby Keita.
The former is still yet to sign a new contract despite progressive talks, though remains a favourite of Klopp.
But the contract issue has continued to rumble and the arrival of Thiago could spell bad news, as reported in the Daily Express.
The same could be said for Keita, who is yet to shine since arriving from RB Leipzig for £52million.
He has been held back by a series of injury problems but Liverpool cannot afford to give him forever to adapt to English football.
Fabinho and Henderson are two guaranteed starters meaning there could just be one midfield spot up for grabs.
Thiago would appear to give the Resd more a natural balance in the middle of the park. However, a deal is still to be done as Liverpool look to defend their Premier League title next season.
Klopp and Sadio Mane, meanwhile, have given their thoughts about Sunday’s win over Villa, with the manager having an unusual explanation for their struggles. Read more here.