by Sam Patterson (@sam0007ster)
Well, what a forty-eight hours. Liverpool, out of nowhere, are alive and kicking. Thiago Alcantara, the certified world-class Champions League winner, is a Red. Signed. Done. He may even play this Sunday… life comes at you fast, huh Reds?
And the big transfer news doesn’t stop there. Diogo Jota, Wolves’ versatile 23-year-old forward, looks like he’ll be ‘leaning’ next… watch this space.
Liverpool sign Thiago Alcantara
Arguably, the best signing of the summer – some believe, by far. Value-wise, anyway. Whatever you make of it, this feels big. Really big.
The news, which broke on Thursday morning via Paul Joyce of The Times, James Pearce of The Athletic and Melissa Reddy of The Independent et al., sent fans into a frenzy.
The 29-year-old, announced on Friday, signed a four-year deal, with Liverpool paying a guaranteed £20million and (potentially) £5million in bonuses. The deal had reportedly hinged on Liverpool losing a first-team midfielder, potentially Gini Wijnaldum, but this is, thankfully, wide of the mark.
Wide of the mark because it seems – ‘seems’ because things can change very quickly in football – that the deal will have little to no impact on the future of the Dutch midfielder, who is, incidentally, entering the final year of his Liverpool contract. The reliable @_ChrisBascombe and others made this clear.
Jürgen Klopp, in his pre-Chelsea press conference, also added: “…I can tell you that it (Thiago to Liverpool) won’t have any negative impact in anyone’s future, as far as anyone has to leave or anything no…”
Liverpool have added depth and one of the world’s top midfield operators. That means, of course – logically speaking – that this squad is even better equipped than the 99-points-title-winning-Reds squad. From a fan’s perspective, ‘excited’ doesn’t quite cut it.
Thiago became Liverpool’s second signing of the summer after Kostas Tsimikas joined from Greek side Olympiacos in August.
Both Rhian Brewster and Ki-Jana Hoever to exit?
There is, however, a domino effect here. Liverpool had so far been reluctant to splurge capital in the market this summer (for obvious reasons), so now they have they’ll be looking to accrue some too.
Nonetheless, the prospect of Brewster leaving on a permanent deal is a big surprise to many (including me). Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder confirmed his interest on Wednesday, but Crystal Palace have since emerged as favourites to secure the youngster’s signature. The Red’s valuation of the striker lands somewhere in the region of £25million.
But to soften the blow to disgruntled Liverpool fans (if there is any at the moment), the recruitment team will push to insert a buy-back option into any exit deal.
Defender Ki-Jana Hoever, meanwhile, looks to have one foot out of the exit door. Wolves are keen on the youngster, a player who’s made four first-team appearances for Klopp’s side, scoring one goal – against MK Dons in the League Cup third-round win last season.
Hoever, 18, is set to leave for an initial £9million (plus £4.5million add-ons), and this leads us onto Jota, who is heading in the opposite direction: Wolves to LFC.
Jota to Liverpool?
Now, this is out of nowhere. The Portuguese forward, who scored seven league goals last season (sixteen in all comps), is on the verge of signing for the Merseysiders. Buying capable cover for the front three was a necessity this summer, and Jota seems to fit the bill.
It is a marker of Klopp’s admiration for the player that Liverpool are said to be willing to spend £40million+ on Jota (reports differ somewhat on the fee, but £40million is in the ballpark). An interesting side point is that Liverpool will be paying less than 10% of the fee over the next twelve months.
And, by all accounts, the player is keen to join.
Jota sat out of Wolves’ mid-week League Cup clash against Stoke City for reasons which were, then, unknown. Now the reasons appear obvious, with the Reds likely to announce the signing over the weekend.
Still pending but inevitable, Jota’s move to Liverpool could mean it’s the end of the road for Divock Origi at the club. The Times’ Joyce suggests the Belgian “must now consider his position”.
- The pursuit of Jota assumedly brings an end to the Ismaila Sarr rumours. As per Dominic King Liverpool had shown an interest in the Watford forward and went as far as to make an enquiry. But Liverpool appear to have been priced out of a deal.
- In other news – news that seems to have gone under the radar – Liverpool are close to signing Brazilian goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga from Fluminense. The 17-year-old, according to James Pearce, had been assessed by fellow countryman Alisson Becker, with Klopp open to consulting playing staff on potential transfer targets.
- This story is very much unconfirmed, but reporters Chris Williams, of AIPSmedia, and Manuel Veth, of Transfermarkt, believe the Reds have approached Schalke over centre-half Ozan Kabak. Kabak, mooted as a potential signing all summer, is valued at £25million. The German side are reluctant to sell, however.