Whilst we all await the announcement of Gabriel to Arsenal, let’s discuss another player who we were linked with over the weekend….
It looked like the Spanish central midfielder was on his way to Liverpool. But that deal seems to have gone cold whilst speculation over a move to Arsenal has father momentum.
But should Arsenal be targeting the 29-year-old?
Why is Thiago leaving Bayern Munich?
The Germans are dominating the Bundesliga won the Champions League. They are the team at the top of the tree right now. So why would Thiago be looking for a move away?
A player always moves for 2 reasons; he wants to join a different club (no challenge, take a step up, more money, etc) or the club no longer wants him.
With Thiago it is probably a mixture of both.
He has been at Bayern for 7 years, having signed from Barcelona in 2013. A move to the Premier League would mean he would have then played in 3 of the top 4 leagues across Europe (England, Spain, Germany, Italy).
If he wins the league in England, he will join a small list to have won the league in the 3 nations. And with Italy being a slower pace, there would be a chance he could complete the quadruple in 3 or 4 years.
From Bayern’s point of view, Thiago is now 29 and has 1 year left on his contract.
His time in German has been injury hit; averaging just 21 League games a season.
Bayern play 2 in midfield and with the progress of Joshua Kimmich as a defensive midfielder, they clearly like the all German partnership of him and Leon Goretzka. Both men are 4 years younger than Thiago.
So Bayern have a choice.
Offer Thiago a huge new contract, despite his injury record and not being part of the long term plans, or cash in this summer and reinvest in a younger version to play back up to Goretzka.
I think it is obvious what direction Munich have decided to go in.
What’s happening with Liverpool?
The move to Liverpool has gone cold.
A £23m transfer fee is certainly not too expensive, so it feels like personal terms is the issue.
When you look at what Arsenal invested (or wasted) in a 29-year-old Mesut Ozil, you can see why clubs are wary.
This would be Thiago’s last “big contract”.
It would not be a surprise if he was demanding a 4-5 year contract, with wages well in excess of £200k a week.
That is a huge investment to make in someone with such a questionable injury record.
By the time you add in the physicality of the Premier League, you could be investing over £75m in a player who misses nearly as much football as he plays.
It might be a cheap deal in terms of transfer fee, but personal terms make it very expensive.
Should Arsenal sign Thiago?
The answer is no.
But taking into account his age, his salary demands and his injury record, we would be best off investing that money elsewhere.
Yes, we need creativity and on his day Thiago is a fantastic player. But he is not hugely creative with just 2 assists in the Bundesliga this season. He is more the man behind the creator then the main creative outlet.
In Dani Ceballos, Arsenal have a younger version of Thiago.
Ceballos is 24 and has already spent a year in England acclimatising. He has very similar attributes to Thiago and the transfer fee to Real Madrid would be similar. Ceballos would also command a lot less in wages than Thiago – maybe even 2/3s less (Thiago: £250k, Ceballos £90k).
We would be buying Ceballos with the next 6-8 years in mind, not the next 3-4.
Given the choice between Ceballos and Thiago, I know who I would choose…