Liverpool are prepared to sack Thiago Alcantara amid league interest from Saudi Arabia, with Southampton’s Romeo Lavia as the next midfielder on Jurgen Klopp’s radar.
Thiago has one year left on his current contract and Liverpool have no intention of extending his term. That makes a sale this summer more attractive than letting the 32-year-old leave free of transfer next year.
Saudi clubs have expressed a desire to talk to the midfielder and have found Liverpool receptive to the idea of Thiago moving on if he wishes.
His decision could affect whether Klopp will spend big on a third midfielder during this transfer window, having already pledged £95 million to Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.
Versatile, young and versatile midfielders have always been Klopp’s number one priority ahead of next season. Longer term, a No. 6 Specialist is also being considered, but this will depend on how many of the roster leave between now and August.
Liverpool have Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, teenager Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago who – at different times – have all played the deeper midfield role. Liverpool’s recruiters are aware of the age profile of those in that critical position, and while Henderson and Fabinho remain the senior players, Thiago should face a battle for playing time next season as Liverpool’s recruitment is aimed at those who are more direct competition for his place.
The Saudi move to Thiago increases the chances of Liverpool making a formal move to Lavia, but his £50 million valuation is deemed too prohibitive for Klopp to make a move. At this stage it seems unlikely that Liverpool will make a bid without raising money from the sale, especially as Klopp would also like to add a young defender before the start of this season.
No matter how much transfer fee Liverpool received, Thiago is one of the club’s top earners, earning more than £10 million a year.
What does seem clearer is that if Liverpool make another midfield signing, Lavia is most likely as he is a long-term target and fits the club’s profile. As with Szoboszlai, Liverpool would also have to act quickly to fend off interest from other clubs. It is clear that Manchester City have included a buyback clause in Lavia’s contract which takes effect in 2024.
Thiago hinted his days at Anfield may be coming to an end by removing Liverpool from his Instagram profile on Monday.
He joined from Bayern Munich for a bargain of £20 million. His first season was interrupted by injury, but he emerged in the quadruple bid in 2022. Last year was more disappointing as injuries again took their toll.
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