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Barcelona 'facing Saudi competition to re-sign former midfielder'

Barcelona 'facing Saudi competition to re-sign former midfielder'
© Reuters
Barcelona will reportedly face competition from clubs in Brazil and Saudi Arabia should they wish to re-sign Thiago Alcantara from Liverpool this summer.

Two clubs have reportedly registered their interest in signing an experienced Liverpool midfielder during the summer transfer window.

After four injury-plagued years on Merseyside, Thiago Alcantara's time in the Premier League seems destined to come to an end when his deal runs out at the end of the season.

Despite his excellent exploits with Bayern Munich, the Spain international's arrival in 2020 was met with a few raised eyebrows due to concerns on how he would fit in to Jurgen Klopp's system.

Thiago brushed aside those concerns to become an important player for Liverpool when fit, contributing three goals and six assists in 98 games and acting as a fundamental part of the Reds' quadruple-chasing team in 2021-22.

However, the 33-year-old has also been beset by a plethora of fitness concerns on Merseyside, and he has only made one appearance this season, a five-minute cameo in a 3-1 loss to Arsenal in February.

Thiago may have played final game for Liverpool

Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara warms up on April 22, 2023© Reuters

Thiago had endured a 10-month recovery period from a hip problem before coming off the bench at the Emirates, but he sustained another severe muscular problem on that day, which could rule him out for the rest of the season.

As a result, there is a strong chance that the former Barcelona man has played his last game for Klopp's side, as his contract expires in the summer, and he has apparently tasked his agent with finding him a new club this summer.

A handful of teams in Serie A are thought to be monitoring the situation, and Thiago has also been linked with a surprise return to Barcelona, whom he made 100 appearances for during an eight-year spell.

Should the 33-year-old decide that his time in the big five European leagues is up, though, Fichajes claims that he could continue his career in either Saudi Arabia or South America.

Brazilian giants Flamengo and Al Ettifaq - who currently house Georginio Wijnaldum and also signed Jordan Henderson last summer - are said to be the two leading candidates, but they are not alone in the chase.

Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara in action with Manchester City's Bernardo Silva on October 13, 2022© Reuters

Atletico Madrid and teams in Turkey are supposedly willing to take a punt on Thiago too, and the Champions League winner is not intending to retire despite his frequent absences in recent years.

Could Liverpool target a midfielder to replace Thiago?

Even if Thiago does head for the exit door as expected, Liverpool are still incredibly well-stocked in the midfield areas thanks to last year's successful rebuild, where Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister and Ryan Gravenberch touched down on Merseyside.

The Reds also have Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones competing for minutes in the engine room, while Bobby Clark and James McConnell are regularly sticking their hands up for first-team minutes as well.

Nevertheless, Liverpool are still thought to be keeping their eyes peeled for midfield opportunities this summer, with Sheffield United's Oliver Arblaster rumoured to be on their radar.

However, defensive reinforcements are expected to be the priority for the Reds, who are back in Premier League action away to Fulham on Sunday afternoon.

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