Gary Neville has told Liverpool that the signing of Thiago Alcantara must be made a priority at Anfield this summer for two big reasons.
The Spanish midfielder has entered the final year of his deal and looks likely to leave Bayern before long. He turned down a new deal in Bavaria, doing so at the final hour of negotiations.
There remains uncertainty over where his future lies, with several reports touting Liverpool as his next destination. However the Reds are unwilling to pay Bayern’s asking price for a player in such a situation.
Bayern are said to be seeking €30m for the player and Liverpool will likely need to see what Georginio Wijnaldum’s plans are first. To that end, Jurgen Klopp held key transfer talks with the Holland star.
The matter of bringing Thiago to Anfield looks further complicated by a recent statement made by the Spain midfielder.
“I have not said at any time that I am leaving. Every year you put me in a different team,” he said.
“I am on the sidelines, my future is Sunday’s game right now. I neither care nor am I interested in what I know I talked.”
Either way, Neville has listed two reasons why Thiago’s arrival at Anfield is essential for Liverpool this summer.
Firstly, the United great reckons Liverpool need a player of his quality to prevent a drop-off in standards this season. Secondly, he believes the signing of such a world-class star will prevent a malaise setting in among their current squad.
“To get to a Champions League final, win it the following season, and then to go again to win the Premier League title is a huge emotional drain on that group of Liverpool players for three years,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“To ask them to go again and achieve that same standard would be a superhuman effort.
“It wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest there will be a slight drop-off. If they don’t somehow stimulate that squad by doing something to give them that lift again.
“Thiago would be the big one. He is world class and would give them a world-class presence in an area of the field where they don’t have one.”
Neville admits Liverpool’s side last season was far from perfect and the main area of improvement was in midfield.
Assessing what the former Barcelona man would bring, Neville added: “Liverpool are not perfect. They have a world-class goalkeeper, centre-back and strikers.
“They have really good midfield players with good work ethic but with Thiago would be another step. He would control the game with that weight of pass, that nous.”
Flick hoping to keep Thiago
Flick has previously outlined that he would understand if Thiago wanted to secure a move to the Premier League. Offering his latest update, Flick insisted he – as well as exit-linked David Alaba – remain in Bayern’s plans for now.
“The situation is not that easy. As long as they are in the squad, I plan with both of them,” the manager said (via Goal).
As for confirmed exits, Flick also told reporters in his latest update that three players have left. Philippe Coutinho has returned to Barcelona while Ivan Perisic has rejoined Inter Milan.
Alvaro Odriozola completes the trio, the Spaniard heading back to Real Madrid.
“It has been decided that we will no longer use those three,” Flick said. “We are working so that we can bring quality back into those positions.”