Thiago Alcantara has said farewell to his Bayern Munich team-mates ahead of his expected transfer to Liverpool, with Hansi Flick congratulating Jurgen Klopp on the signing.
After months of speculation about his future, Thiago finally appears set to depart treble winners Bayern and join Klopp’s Premier League champions.
Stats Perform News understands the two clubs have agreed a deal that could eventually be worth £25million (€27.5m), with Liverpool due to pay £20m up front for the 29-year-old.
Bayern boss Flick has lauded the departing Spaniard, whose contract was due to run out next year, and told Klopp he is getting a star.
“Thiago is an exceptional player who spent seven hugely successful years here,” he told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.
“He’s a wonderful person and an outstanding professional. It was very emotional today when he said goodbye to us all.
“I can only congratulate Jurgen Klopp. We are in good spirits that we can still do something in the transfer market. We lost a lot of quality with him.”
Uncertainty over whether Thiago would stay or go had rumbled on for months and Flick confirmed he had tried to persuade the former Barcelona man to remain in Bavaria.
However, after winning seven Bundesliga titles, a Champions League and the DFB-Pokal on four occasions during his seven seasons with the club, Thiago informed his coach he was keen to continue his career elsewhere.
“I tried to change his mind,” added Flick, whose team begin their Bundesliga title defence against Schalke on Friday.
“The farewell was difficult, he told me that he was looking for another challenge.”
Flick is keen not to say goodbye to another key member of his treble-winning side, with the Bayern boss desperate to get the versatile David Alaba to extend his contract beyond the end of the forthcoming campaign.
Alaba was “hurt” by comments from Bayern’s former president Uli Hoeness, who accused his agent of being a “greedy piranha” only motivated by money.
“I can really only say the best about him,” Flick said of Alaba.
“He is extremely important to us not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch. When I think of the small group training sessions, he pulled every player with him.
“He’s one of the best in this new position as a central defender, he’s taken the position to a new level.
“I would like both sides to approach each other and also take some sharpness out.”