For all of his success at Bayern Munich, until his departure for Liverpool perhaps the most enduring symbol of Pep Guardiola’s reign there was the classy Thiago Alcântara. “Thiago or nothing,” Guardiola said when demanding a midfielder of his nature, a year after he had stopped working with him at Barcelona.
There also remain those in Catalonia, particularly following the retirements of Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, who continue to regret Thiago’s departure in 2013 for only £21.6m. If, led by a core of German players, Bayern established themselves as the finest team in Germany by winning the Bundesliga title, the guile provided by Thiago was instrumental in elevating them further when they proved themselves the finest in Europe by winning their sixth Champions League. There were few who appeared capable of of improving 2020 Premier League and 2019 European champions Liverpool, but after being identified by Jürgen Klopp as his leading transfer target, Thiago has already demonstrated he is among them.