The deal Liverpool have agreed with Bayern Munich for star midfielder Thiago Alcantara will see the Reds pay a guaranteed £20m, topped up by an extra £5m in possible add-ons.
That structure provided the long awaited breakthrough for Liverpool, who were previously thought to be unwilling to meet Bayern’s asking price in the region of €30m (£27m).
Thiago made his decision to leave Bayern before the end of last season when he rejected a new contract in Munich and his last game was the victorious Champions League final. Liverpool had already been linked for a few months, but serious talks between the clubs began more recently.
Liverpool journalist Melissa Reddy has reported that the guaranteed £20m will be cut into instalments spread over the full course of the four-year contract Thiago has agreed, thereby limiting the expense. If spread evenly, that could be just £5m per season.
It has also been revealed that Thiago will take the number six shirt at Liverpool that was vacated when Dejan Lovren completed an £11m transfer to Zenit St Petersburg in July.
Thiago previously wore six in each of his seven years with Bayern.
Other players to have worn six for Liverpool in the Premier League era, with varying degrees of success, include John Arne Riise, Phil Babb, Fabio Aurelio, Markus Babbel, Luis Alberto and Don Hutchison. Historically, it was made famous by Anfield legends Emlyn Hughes and Alan Hansen.
The respect and admiration between Thiago and Liverpool is already there. Jurgen Klopp spoke glowingly about Thiago when the Reds completed the signing of Naby Keita in 2017, while the Liverpool boss also described the Spaniard as ‘world class’ after a game against Bayern last year.
In 2018, Thiago said of Liverpool and the Premier League: “I love watching English football. It’s the league I most enjoy. Look at Liverpool’s midfield: Henderson, Milner, Chamberlain, they pressed like animals in the Champions League. They ate up the midfield. They were fantastic.”