Liverpool are closing in on a deal for Wolves winger Diogo Jota, for a fee of more than £35 million.
On the same day that midfielder Thiago Alcantara was unveiled as the Reds’ new No.6, reports began over interest in Portuguese attacker Jota.
And within hours those have quickly escalated to a deal being close to agreed with Wolves for the 23-year-old.
Jota is expected to head to Merseyside, while teenage defender Ki-Jana Hoever goes the opposite way to the Midlands in a separate transfer for around £10 million.
The deal for the versatile attacker, who plays predominantly on the left of a front three but can also play as an attacking midfielder or as a forward, could even be completed this weekend.
Jota was not in the Wolves squad for their League Cup tie in the week, with manager Nuno Espirito Santo saying he was unavailable and that “these are decisions that we have to make.”
Several well sourced Merseyside journalists, including The Independent‘s Melissa Reddy and The Times‘ Paul Joyce have now reported the £35-million-plus fee for Jota.
Jurgen Klopp is said to be “an admirer of the versatility and work rate of the Portugal international.”
Jota, who has been at Wolves for three seasons, quickly became Liverpool’s priority after Watford‘s price tag for winger Ismalia Sarr became prohibitive.
He scored 16 goals and made six assists in 48 appearances last season, and made his debut for the Portugal national team last November.
Jota’s arrival would be Liverpool’s third of the summer, with a centre-back then the only potential incoming left for Klopp’s side.
Adding quality depth to Liverpool’s attacking options has been a priority in the eyes of most supporters this summer, especially with the condensed season ahead meaning more rotation will be required.
Attention will next turn to departures, with Hoever set to be followed by the exits of Harry Wilson, Rhian Brewster, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Grujic – all of which are available for a permanent transfer at the right price.
Thiago Alcantara joins Liverpool to embark on a new chapter of a career that has seen the midfielder reach the heights of the European and global game with previous clubs FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich.
Indeed, the Spain international has sealed his move to Merseyside just 26 days after hoisting aloft the Champions League trophy as an integral member of Bayern’s 2019-20 treble-winning squad.
Now, the 29-year-old will bring his blend of technique, athleticism and winning mentality to Anfield, where Thiago is set to wear the No.6 jersey.
Here, we take a look at Thiago’s football journey so far…
Born Thiago Alcantara do Nascimento in Italy on April 11, 1991, both of his parents are Brazilian and from a sporting background; his mother a professional volleyball player, his father the 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho.
Besotted by football from his earliest years, Thiago’s ties with Spain – the country he later opted to represent at international level – were forged by Mazinho’s transfers, including a four-year spell at Celta Vigo between 1996 and 2000.
Two separate stints in Flamengo’s youth ranks bookended experience with local Spanish teams for Thiago as the family criss-crossed from Brazil to Europe while he simultaneously developed his precocious talents on the pitch.
Foundations for his professional career were eventually laid at Barcelona and he joined the La Liga club’s fabled La Masia academy in 2005 before debuting for the first team under Pep Guardiola four years later, just weeks after his 18th birthday.
Thiago’s task was daunting for any emerging player: break into a masterful Barça side consistently playing some of the most attractive, fluid and successful football of the modern era.
But by 2010-11, he’d started to complete that objective.
The midfielder featured a dozen times as Guardiola’s team chalked up a third consecutive domestic title triumph, and once in the Champions League – as well as being an unused substitute in the final – when Barcelona lifted Old Big Ears for a second time in three seasons.
With his precision close control, invention, agility and natural ability to play a high-tempo game, Thiago was a stylistic match for the Barça philosophy installed by Guardiola.
And he steadily became a more regular presence in the side, clocking up 43 and 36 appearances in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively, helping them reclaim La Liga in the latter campaign.
Thiago had also been enhancing his reputation as part of Spain’s U21 team, playing a pivotal role as his country clinched back-to-back U21 European Championship honours in 2011 and 2013.
He netted a 40-yard free-kick in the 2011 final against Switzerland and, two years later, bagged a hat-trick when Italy were defeated 4-2 in the showpiece to confirm his status as UEFA’s Player of the Tournament.
Thiago was also on the move that summer.
Guardiola was now at the helm of Bayern and had made clear his desire to recruit his former player for the Bavarians, with a deal agreed and the switch completed in July 2013.
‘Trophy-laden’ does not quite do justice to Thiago’s time in Germany.
He collected a Bundesliga winner’s medal in each and every one of the seven seasons he spent with Bayern, lifted the German cup on four occasions, and added another FIFA Club World Cup – including a goal in the 2013 final – to the one previously won with Barcelona.
Those glories tasted all the sweeter after the midfielder – who has to date amassed 39 caps and scored two goals for Spain – recovered from multiple knee injuries that robbed a year of his career between March 2014 and April 2015.
And he signed off from Bayern in spectacular fashion last term with a treble of Bundesliga title, German cup and a comprehensive Champions League triumph.
Thiago and co beat Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate, thrashed his former side Barcelona 8-2, saw off Lyon 3-0 and then overcame Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final to bring his former club level with his new one on six European Cups.
A metronomic figure in the middle of the park, the No.6 was widely praised for his influential performances and was later named in UEFA’s Champions League Squad of the Season.
He ended his time in Munich with a total of 235 appearances and 31 goals.
Thiago – who speaks fluent English – told The Telegraph last September: “I think every year I have got better and better and I’m reaching the best moment of my career. But I think I have a lot of years to make it even better.
“In the end it is about work. Work to be more intelligent, to think faster than your opponent and think faster than I thought last year.”
A long-time admirer of English football and, indeed, the Liverpool side being built by Jürgen Klopp at Anfield, now he’ll bring that mindset to the Reds having signed a long-term contract with the club.
Thiago Alcantara completed his move to Liverpool FC today and our photographer was on location to photograph the Spain midfielder as he sealed the deal at Anfield.
After seven years with FC Bayern Munich – a spell that concluded with a treble of Bundesliga, German cup and Champions League – the 29-year-old joins Jürgen Klopp’s Reds on a long-term contract.
On his first day with the club, Thiago was at his new home stadium to wrap up the transfer, explore his surroundings and sit down for an exclusive interview with Liverpoolfc.com.
Take a look in our gallery below…
Thiago Alcantara will wear the No.6 shirt for Liverpool.
The midfielder has opted to retain the same number with his new club that he wore during his distinguished seven-year spell at FC Bayern Munich, which concluded with Champions League glory last month.
Thiago takes the No.6 for the Reds shortly after it was vacated by Dejan Lovren, who wore it for six seasons before his permanent transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.
Recent predecessors of the number at Liverpool include Luis Alberto, Fabio Aurelio, Markus Babbel and John Arne Riise.
Liverpool are escalating their interest in Diogo Jota from Wolves and are optimistic of following up the signing of Thiago by adding the forward to their squad for a fee expected to be in excess of £35 million.
Jurgen Klopp has long been an admirer of the versatility and work rate of the Portugal international, who was left out of the Carabao Cup defeat to Stoke by Nuno Espirito Santo.
That signals a transfer is close.
Full story: Independent
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool are interested in signing Wolves forward Diogo Jota before the summer transfer window closes.
The 23-year-old was omitted from Nuno Espirito Santo's squad for Thursday's League Cup defeat to Stoke City for unspecified reasons, the manager simply declaring: "he wasn't available".
But the grounds for his absence may well have become clearer after it emerged that he is the subject of interest from the Premier League champions.
Full story: Evening Standard
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Jürgen Klopp stressed the need for his Liverpool players to be at their absolute best against Chelsea on Sunday if they're to leave Stamford Bridge with a positive result.
Like the Reds, Frank Lampard's side opened up their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with three points on the board after beating Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 on Monday night.
Ahead of a mouthwatering encounter in the capital on Sunday afternoon, Klopp detailed the fierce challenge that awaits the reigning champions.
He told his pre-match press conference on Friday: "Last year we played Chelsea pretty often and pretty early in the season. All the games were really difficult, so that's what I expect, first and foremost.
"The first game against Brighton was how it looks when you play Brighton. I'm not sure but when you play Brighton we all suffer because they just play good football and you have to be decisive in the key moments and that was the story of the game pretty much.
"Pretty early it's clear we actually have absolutely no idea who Frank will line up – so many different options. Because we don't know a lot about Chelsea in the moment – during the season that will probably change – we just have to focus on ourselves. There's enough work to do with that for different reasons.
"We are very early in the season, so we had an intense week of work. [We] worked – how we see it – on decisive stuff. A lot of things were good in the first game, some things were not that good. I know that but it's the first game, so we don't make it less important or more important than necessary, just work with it and use it as one information.
"All the rest of the week was absolutely good so far. So now we have to make sure that we can transform that on the pitch because we better be at our best otherwise it could be really, really tricky."
Liverpool picked up three points away at Chelsea last season as well-taken goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino secured a 2-1 win.
It was one of 14 victories the Reds amassed on their travels in the league throughout 2019-20 to set a new club record.
Asked about his team's success away from home, Klopp commented: "I didn't think last season about it, so why should I now start with it?
"We don't make a difference between home and away games – it is a difference obviously because of the atmosphere in our stadium usually.
"We have different ways to play and we had to defend with all we have and sometimes we scored more often than the opponent.
"We can take the Chelsea game: we scored two wonderful goals, both were after set-pieces, we had more chances but it was a proper fight. That's what we have to be ready for and we should not make a difference between which ground we are playing in at the moment.
"The pitch is similar long, similar wide, so let's go for it. The goal is in a similar position on all pitches, so we don't make the difference. But, of course, sometimes you can have a positive or negative run and it's not really to explain.
"We played just consistently competitive, good football. That was the reason for it and that's what we have to do again. We were really in the game, we didn't give the ball away or played with 20 per cent possession away and 80 per cent at home or whatever.
"We didn't really change. We adapted to the different opponents but we didn't really change and that's another point maybe.
"But in the end, you need to work for these kind of numbers. We just have to work. We go to Chelsea and that's a tough place with or without supporters, the team they have, the manager they have.
"It will just be really hardest work again and that's all we need to know."