Thi­ago set to join Liver­pool to­day in £20m deal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Chris Bas­combe

Liver­pool ex­pect to com­plete the sign­ing of Thi­ago Al­can­tara to­day af­ter agree­ing an ini­tial £20mil­lion fee with Bay­ern Mu­nich.

The 29-year-old mid­fielder will head to Mersey­side this morn­ing to com­plete his med­i­cal and sign a four-year con­tract. Per­sonal terms have al­ready been agreed with the Spain mid­fielder.

The trans­fer win­dow has sparked into life for the Premier League cham­pi­ons, and Liver­pool’s spend­ing may not end there. The club are also in­ter­ested in Wat­ford’s Is­maila Sarr, al­though they are yet to make an ap­proach for the 22-year-old.

Wat­ford will seek con­sid­er­ably more than the £35mil­lion they paid for the Sene­gal for­ward a year ago, which means there could be a mas­sive dif­fer­ence in val­u­a­tions should Liver­pool de­cide to pur­sue their in­ter­est.

For now, Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp will be thrilled to have the Thi­ago deal so close af­ter months of in­ter­est.

The fee may po­ten­tially rise to £25mil­lion should Thi­ago be part of a ti­tle-win­ning or Cham­pi­ons League-win­ning side over the course of his An­field ca­reer. On re­quest, he has been handed Liver­pool’s No6 jer­sey.

Bay­ern will be de­flated to lose the player, hav­ing of­fered him fresh terms fol­low­ing their re­cent Cham­pi­ons League vic­tory and Bay­ern Mu­nich coach Hansi Flick said: “Thi­ago was an ex­cep­tional player for seven years for Bay­ern

Mu­nich. The way he played he gave many op­tions to the team and he solved prob­lems in ways peo­ple did not ex­pect.”

The deal rep­re­sents more shrewd busi­ness by sport­ing di­rec­tor Michael Ed­wards. Bay­ern had pre­vi­ously said they wanted £27mil­lion for Thi­ago but, once ne­go­ti­a­tions for­mally be­gan, they were re­solved swiftly and the tim­ing of the deal shows how ea­ger Klopp and the club were to bol­ster the squad in this trans­fer win­dow.

Liver­pool have said that they are not in a po­si­tion to invest in play­ers with­out be­ing sure of the re­turn of rev­enue streams, and it is thought that play­ers will have to be sold to fund ma­jor fu­ture pur­chases.

Thi­ago’s sign­ing will al­low Klopp to use Fabinho as cen­tral de­fen­sive cover, if needed, as the Spa­niard is adept at play­ing the spe­cial­ist po­si­tion in front of the de­fence.

Should the deal go through with­out a hitch as an­tic­i­pated, that may open up the pos­si­bil­ity of Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum mov­ing to Barcelona, al­though Liver­pool have of­ten said that devel­op­ment is not so sim­ple. Wi­j­nal­dum is in the same po­si­tion as Thi­ago in that he has a year re­main­ing on his cur­rent con­tract and could leave for free in a year. Al­though the Dutch­man has said he is happy to stay at An­field and would like fresh terms, if an of­fer is not forth­com­ing he may want to ex­plore his op­tions and join Ron­ald Koe­man at the Nou Camp.

But Liver­pool have said their move for Thi­ago is in­de­pen­dent of Wi­j­nal­dum’s sit­u­a­tion and will not in­evitably lead to him leav­ing An­field.

On the move?: Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum has been linked with Barcelona

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