Liverpool set to replace Thiago with 19-year-old 'big player'

Liverpool are set to lose Thiago Alcantara on a free transfer this summer. 

The 33-year-old midfielder has missed all but a tiny fraction of this season, making a brief appearance off the bench against Arsenal back in February but hasn’t been seen since. 

The Spain international was out long term with a persistent hip injury, returing to the first-team picture earlier this year. 

However, he suffered a new muscle injury against the Gunners during that Emirates Stadium defeat and looks like he has already played his last game for the club. 

Al-Ettifaq and Flamengo have been touted as the next destination for the playmaker, who signed a sizeable four-year contract upon signing from Bayern Munich back in 2020, making him one of the club’s top earners in the process. 

With Thiago leaving there have been suggestions that Liverpool’s new hierarchy might well move to sign a new midfielder this summer. 

Liverpool’s revamped midfield

They revamped that sector last year under now-departed sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, with Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo all coming to the club and Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner all taking their leave. 

This year there have been links with Alan Varela, Porto’s Argentinian midfielder, with reports in the player’s homeland suggesting that the Reds have made a €60 million bid for the former Boca Junior star. 

Alan Varela

Uefa Champions League, FC Porto vs FC Barcelona, Barca round 2 of 6 Porto, Portugal, October, 4th, 2023,Uefa Champions League, FC Porto vs FC Barcelona, round 2 of 6 at the Estadio do Dragao, FC Porto, Alan Varela, photography by guelbergoes Porto Portugal

However, top Liverpool journalist Neil Jones has poured cold water on those claims, stating that the Reds had another plan in mind when it comes to the midfield this summer. 

Stefan Bajcetic has missed almost the entire season with a long-standing calf problem but is on the comeback trail having recently gained game time at Premier League 2 level. 

The 19-year-old is regarded as a future first-team mainstay and could be ready to make the step up to become a full-time option in midfield next season. 

Bajcetic to have ‘significant impact’ on transfer plans

Bajcetic, a Spain under-21 international, is under contract until 2027 and will be desperate to make up for lost time. He has already played 21 times for the first team under Jurgen Klopp. 

“I’m not aware of anything concrete in links between Liverpool and the Porto midfielder Alan Varela,” Jones told Caught Offside

“Right now, I believe the Reds are pretty well-stocked in that area, even if they will lose Thiago Alcantara on a free transfer in the summer. 

“Wataru Endo aside, Liverpool have a real core of midfield players aged 25 and under. Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have settled in well during their first season, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott have developed into trusted first-team players."

West Ham United v Liverpool FC - Premier League Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the London Stadium, Stratford on Wednesday 26th April 2023. Stratford Greater London United Kingdom PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xMIxNewsx originalFilename:fletcher-westhamu230426_npppf.jpg

“So too is Stefan Bajcetic, who has recently returned to action, and I believe he is an important player to think about when discussing Liverpool’s midfield plans. He is only 19, has already made an impression on the first team, and has the skills and versatility to play as a No.6 or a No.8, depending on the needs of the team. 

“He is viewed internally at Liverpool as a big player for the future, and I expect him to have a significant role to play going forward, and therefore a significant impact on the club’s transfer plans in midfield.”

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