Jurgen Klopp admits he thought Thiago Alcantara would be out of reach.
Now the Liverpool boss is ecstatic to have finally landed the Spanish star from Bayern Munich.
The initial fee is £20million, with £6m in bonus payments.
But staggeringly, only £5million of that will be paid up front, after the Reds negotiated to pay the sum over the length of his four-year contract.
Thiago, 29, arrives at Anfield after leaving Bayern following their Champions League success last term.
The former Barcelona midfielder has moved to the Premier League having made clear of his desire for a new challenge.
And that search saw him reach out over a move to Anfield, and allowed Klopp to finally land a player whom he has admired from afar for so long.
“A player like Thiago – settled that much at Bayern – is usually out of reach for pretty much everybody,” said Klopp.
“If the player doesn’t want [to move] massively then you have no chance. You see that Bayern have long, long, long-term contracts with their main players. And Thiago was a main player for Bayern over the years.
“I know all the people at Bayern wanted to keep him desperately, that’s normal and understandable because he played an important role, in the last season as well. He just was ready for a new challenge and he decided for us.
“And that’s a compliment actually because he knows the Premier League is tough but he wants to come to the Premier League; he knows we have a good team but he wants to come to this team.
“When we spoke about all the players, he respects them all massively. He admires them. “We played against him when we played Munich in the Champions League two years ago, so he knows what kind of machine we can be and he wanted to be part of that.
“It is about the club, it’s about the team, that he wanted to join us. That’s really cool. But did I think about him earlier? I thought a lot about him but never as a potential transfer, to be honest.”
Thiago joins Liverpool and enhances a midfield already full of talent.
But Klopp believes that the metronomic playmaker brings something a little extra to his side.
“He can demand rhythm, that’s how it is,” continued Klopp.
“He can obviously create and use space for other players, all these kinds of things. First touch incredible; vision incredible; passing pretty good!
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara, while Wolves’ Diogo Jota is next on their radar. Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There’s a lot to keep track of.
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“But he is quick as well. Work-rate great. His numbers were absolutely special last year in Germany as well, most steals, ball recoveries and all these kinds of things; most passes.
“But we don’t play like Bayern, so that still will need some time to get settled and nobody should expect – and I don’t expect – the special things immediately, first game, let’s see.
“It’s a long-term project and we have a good team, so we can give time. But, of course, we want to use him on the pitch, that’s clear.
“So the work can start now.”
Will Thiago shine at Anfield? Have your say below.
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