Liverpool agree £41m deal for Diogo Jota after landing Thiago Alcântara

Liverpool agree £41m deal for Diogo Jota after landing Thiago Alcântara
Liverpool agree £41m deal for Diogo Jota after landing Thiago Alcântara 15

Diogo Jota made clear to Wolves that he wanted to join Liverpool and has signed a five-year contract with Liverpool. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Diogo Jota will soon become a Liverpool player after the club reached an agreement with Wolves to sign the Portuguese forward for £41m having also completed the transfer of Thiago Alcântara from Bayern Munich.

Jota has signed a five-year contract with the Premier League champions after personal terms were swiftly agreed and all that needs to be done to complete the transfer is a medical, which should take place soon. Likely to move in the other direction is 18-year-old Dutch centre-back Ki-Jana Hoever for a fee that could rise to £13.5m.

Jota made clear to Wolves that he wanted to join Liverpool and Nuno Espírito Santo’s preference is to allow players to leave if they no longer wish to be at Molineux. Jota was left out of the Wolves squad for the Carabao Cup defeat by Stoke on Thursday.

Thiago sealed his transfer on a four-year deal earlier on Friday. The Spain international, who was in the last year of his contract at Bayern, arrives for an initial £20m.

Jürgen Klopp has described Thiago as an exceptional player who will bring a “different dimension” to Liverpool’s play but said the midfielder’s signing did not spell the end for Giorginio Wijnaldum.

“I was asked about Gini and I said that if someone comes in, that is not a reason for someone else to leave,” Liverpool’s manager said. “I can’t prepare for a normal season when a season is not normal. We have to find ways to keep the players as fresh as possible. That probably means rotation.”

Klopp believes the fixture congestion caused by the squeezed 2020-21 season will necessitate leading Premier League squads being packed with more established players than usual as chopping and changing XIs becomes a necessity in order to minimise fatigue.

Even so, displacing Thiago could prove a daunting task for his new midfield teammates. “He’s an absolutely exceptional player,” Klopp said. “He will bring a different dimension to our game. He has some skills that are pretty rare and suit us pretty well. But, apart from that, he was pretty excited about the opportunity as well so there was not a lot of convincing needed. It helps if someone really wants to be part of a specific project, that’s nice. So all the things came together and that is what I say is a win-win situation.”

Not that Thiago will always be exempt from being rested in the course of a busy domestic and European campaign during which Klopp believes senior players, internationals particularly, will have to learn to be content to sometimes warm the bench. “Even if everyone is fit rotation is absolutely necessary because it just doesn’t work otherwise,” he said. “Internationally, England alone play three games in October and we just have to try and make sure we can deal with this situation.

“I want my players happy but I cannot make them happy. They are a big part of that as well. For example if we have more than three midfielders and we play 4-3-3 then a couple will not start or come on. Some won’t have the opportunity to be in the match-day squad, that’s how it is. But my job is to show the players how important they are in pretty every moment. In training, in the lineup, on the bench or a week later in the same situation.”

Thiago described the decision to leave Bayern as the hardest of his career but said he wanted a new challenge. “I think it’s an amazing feeling,” he said of joining Liverpool. “I was waiting for this moment for a long time and I am very, very happy to be here.”

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Ike O. Kenndy

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