Multiple reports by Sport are point toward a return to FC Barcelona for Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara. According to one Sport (Spanish) post, several Barcelona players are pleading with management to bring the skilled midfielder back to Spain:
Thiago Alcántara, ex-Barça player and currently in the ranks of Bayern Munich, is on the market: the German club has let slip that the Spanish international is not part of the new head coach, Niko Kovac’s plans, and therefore Bayern will look for a transfer. That’s where Barca comes into play—through their heavyweights. Some of the most important players on Barça’s first team have already made moves so that the sporting management and above all President Josep Maria Bartomeu do not miss the opportunity to sign Thiago.
Who those “heavyweight” players may be can only be speculated, but if it is the right heavyweight (Lionel Messi), the Barca brass will surely get try more aggressively to bring Thiago back into the fold.
They regard [Thiago] as an ideal player for Barça, who embodies the team’s style of play more than assumed, and who has also reached an ideal time to return, having spent five seasons at Bayern Munich, a journey that has helped him mature, come to know another league, and to improve several aspects of his game, especially on defensive tasks. Thiago would be very welcome in the Barça dressing room.
Thiago, himself, openly spoke of Barcelona earlier in the week and conceded that “anything can happen.” Reading between the lines, one might surmise that discussions about this transfer could already be underway. Thiago’s contract with Bayern Munich runs through 2021, and he is still only 27 years old with plenty of soccer ahead of him. The timing for both parties could be right.
Sport - English language, meanwhile, gives more insight into the Bayern side of things as Uli Hoeneß looks to make way for the next generation of Bayern midfielders:
President Uli Hoeness wants to redesign the team and Thiago is one of the players that could depart. The player is with the Spanish national team preparing for the Russia World Cup at the moment, and he is an important player for Julen Lopetegui—his stock could rise after the tournament.
Interestingly, numbers are starting to appear as to what Thiago may be worth, with the sum of €50M as the starting point.
Barcelona will pay attention as Thiago is the sort of player that would fit in well, especially with Andres Iniesta leaving. Their former player fits the profile that coach Ernesto Valverde wants. The handicap comes from economics. Bayern will only sell Thiago for a lot of money, perhaps even more than 50 million euros.
Transfermarkt has Thiago valued at €60M, which would be a significant financial boost to Bayern as the club faces a summer transfer window that could see them looking for an expensive successor to Robert Lewandowski.
It’s clear that some roster mainstays will be leaving Munich
One of the roster issues that Die Roten face is a logjam of great talent in the central midfield. Given the rampant speculation about who is in versus who is out, it is becoming clearer that Thiago’s time in Munich could very well be coming to an end. Aside of his own inability to commit to next season, the whispers from Spain are growing louder as indicated in the reports above.
As it currently stands, the Bayern midfield includes Thiago, Arturo Vidal, Javi Martinez, Corentin Tolisso, Sebastian Rudy, Leon Goretzka, James Rodriguez (at least part time), and Renato Sanches. Like it or not, two or even three of those players will likely exit Munich this offseason.
Whatever happens, Thiago will still be Thiago
Thiago is wonderfully skilled and is ready-made to fit most any system, so whether he stays in Munich to play for Niko Kovac or leaves for Barcelona, we would not anticipate him having any issue making the necessary adjustment to succeed.
Thiago’s ability to alter his play to be more offensive or defensive depending on what his team needs on a particular day, while still keeping his creativity and passing accuracy, makes him a valuable asset to any club both in terms of monetary value and what he brings to the pitch.