Liverpool is no longer targeting André in the transfer market, with the Reds potentially set to empower Alexis Mac Allister to become Thiago Alcântara’s heir.
Thiago Alcântara has painted himself as a special type of player since his arrival on Merseyside in the summer of 2020. The Italian-born midfielder joined Liverpool having recently secured the Champions League with Bayern Munich, with Jürgen Klopp set to benefit from a true controller within his ranks.
“This team deserves a player like him,” said his assistant, Pep Lijnders, at the time, while also describing him as a ‘solution’ for the Reds to use on the pitch. Liverpool’s engine room was packed full of industry and vigor at the time, but none of the midfielders at the club proved to be naturals when required to dictate the game from the middle of the park.
Thiago is a composed and technical player when he’s on the ball. He is a conductor at heart, having admitted as much in an interview with Liverpool’s Walk On Magazine. “Running is not my thing,” he said at the time. “My thing is to make the team play slow or fast when necessary.”
He hasn’t always been able to feature for Klopp due to his ongoing injury struggles, but whenever he has been on the pitch, he’s shone as a talent who is a level above those around him. He has added a new dimension to his team’s possession game and generally made Liverpool harder to defend against.
Next summer, however, his time at Anfield looks destined to come to an end. He has a contract which is due to expire in 2024 and considering he’s now aged 32, it is reasonable to suggest that his current deal will not be extended as Klopp looks to integrate the next generation.
Thiago will be a big loss, particularly when it comes to Liverpool securing the services of a similar player. Those who control the tempo and direction of games tend to be difficult to find in the transfer market, which could explain why Thiago — and perhaps İlkay Gündoğan — are the only two natural controllers that Klopp has coached during his illustrious managerial career.
Six months ago, the Reds got linked with a potential successor in André. The Fluminense midfielder has just won the Copa Libertadores, having dominated the center of the field for his team. He rarely ever lost possession, and he accumulated more touches on average than any of his peers in the competition.