The £40m harsh truth about Liverpool star set to exit this summer

Getty Images
Liverpool transfers: The midfielder has only featured once this season due to injury.

Liverpool are set to say farewell to Thiago Alcantara this summer as his contract expires after four years at the club, but has it been worth it financially?

"Thiago is a world-class footballer.” said Jurgen Klopp once upon a time about the dazzling midfielder he would later sign. The Spaniard arrived at Anfield as one of the most revered and technically gifted midfielders in Europe after a hugely successful spell at Bayern Munich in 2020. Before that he developed at Barcelona and his reputation more than proceeded itself when he arrived in England for £27.3m on a four-year-deal in which he reportedly made himself one of the club’s highest earners at around £250k-a-week - it was a big move.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At the time, Liverpool hadn’t invested in ‘stars’ like Chelsea, Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain would regularly do. Instead, their data-driven recruitment focused heavily on high potential and mentally strong characters who had shown high levels of performance at levels just below the elite. They had also just come off the back of two seasons where they won the Champions League and Premier League but were looking for that extra edge in midfield to bring down Pep Guardiola’s stronghold on English football.

Four years on and the story of his Liverpool career has been heavily dominated by injuries. A hip issue suffered in April 2023 has seen him feature for just five minutes this season - but the most alarming figure is that he hasn’t been available for selection across 50% of games in all four seasons he has been at the club. In fact, compiling the average percentage of possible minutes played per season works out at 37.2%. Factoring in his total costs as well with his wages means that over £40m has been spent on him.

98 games in four years averages out to roughly 25 games a season but his time at Bayern was also characterised by such issues. He was available for just 53.6% of minutes across his time in Germany which shows Liverpool took a risk on the 29-year-old at the time and the lure of his technical quality was seemingly worth the risk but he failed to stamp his mark on the Klopp-era like many expected.

It’s the harsh reality of Thiago’s Liverpool career. But when he shined, he shined so bright that the very best were often powerless to stop him. Man City’s midfield could only watch on as he lit up the FA Cup semi-final in 2022 and moments such as the incredible strike against Porto - which won the Champions League goal of the tournament - are prime examples of what he could do when he was available.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sadly, as his time at Liverpool will end with a whimper. Fans will look back to what could have been rather than celebrating years of midfield quality. It was a signing that many queried at the time before he was then universally adored for his turns, passes and tricks but, as he is set to depart after just 98 games in four years, the Anfield faithful are left with a sense of woe and sadness that they didn’t see one of Europe’s best simply take to the pitch more regularly.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.