The cover of the latest Wednesday edition of Sport Bild packs a wallop for fans of Bayern Munich: “Thiago close to leaving, Bayern now changing its plans!” the teaser on the cover reads.
“Thiago oder nix!” has been the mantra since Pep Guardiola brought Thiago with him from Barcelona. Could the midfield maestro really leave his home for the past seven years? According to Sport Bild, the answer is increasingly “yes.”
Bayern and Thiago had already reached agreement about extending the Spaniard’s contract, which expires at the end of the 2020/21 season, in early May. All that was left to do was for Thiago to sign it. But Thiago just could not bring himself to do it — at least not yet.
According to Sport Bild, he feels good in Munich and is happy with both his teammates and new head coach Hansi Flick. His family is also happy in Munich. But at the age of 29, Thiago is hesitating because this moment is probably his last opportunity to transfer to one of the other European heavyweights before he enters the twilight of his career.
Interest in Liverpool
One of those clubs is rumored to be Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool FC. Thiago would be an ideal replacement for Naby Keïta, who joined Liverpool in 2018 after a stellar run at RB Leipzig. Keïta has not lived up to expectations in the Premier League. But it seems doubtful that Liverpool would spring for Thiago after passing on Timo Werner, who joined Chelsea for a transfer fee of €50 million. Thiago would almost undoubtedly cost at least as much.
A return to Spain in the current transfer market also seems rather implausible. Sky Sport is reporting that Juventus has just agreed to Arthur for €80 million “while talks continue over Juve star Miralem Pjanic, who is wanted at Camp Nou.” Barca wants to pay €70 million, while Juventus wants €80 million. Either way, Pjanic, like Thiago, is a 30-year-old central midfielder. If the deal goes through as expected, only Real Madrid would be a realistic destination for Thiago in La Liga, and not his Catalan home.
Back in Munich, the Bayern bosses are reportedly holding course: Leon Goretzka has been excellent alongside Joshua Kimmich, so they theoretically would not need an immediate replacement. Hansi Flick has also been pleased with the development of Michael Cuisance, whose profile as an attacking midfielder is somewhat similar, while Adrian Fein will join the team next season as a more defensive option at the end of his loan to Hamburg.
Thiago says he knows it sounds crazy not to extend, but it anyone can talk sense into him, it’s the front office of Bayern Munich.