Liverpool fans were over the moon when Thiago Alcantara completed his £20 million move from Bayern Munich in September.
The Spain international had recently enhanced his status as one of the best midfielders in Europe after helping Bayern win the Champions League.
That Liverpool managed to sign him from a Bayern Munich side which had just won the treble felt like a major coup for the reigning Premier League champions.
Thiago has already produced some fabulous performances in a Liverpool shirt. The 29-year-old oozes class and is a joy to watch.
But has the £192,000-a-week star improved Liverpool as a team?
The Reds are currently on a four-game winless run in the Premier League. Thiago played 17 minutes in the 0-0 draw away at Newcastle and the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton. He also played from start to finish in Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Manchester United.
Didi Hamann, the former Bayern Munich and Liverpool midfielder, believes Thiago may end up making Jurgen Klopp’s side *worse* rather than better.
The ex-Germany international raised eyebrows on Tuesday by suggesting that signing Thiago may have been a mistake.
“If you only score one goal in four games, you know there is a problem,” Hamann told talkSPORT.
“The problem in the last few games was going forward. Fabinho has been brilliant in defence, but he’s a loss in midfield as he gives the team good balance and gives the other midfielders and attackers the license and freedom to go forward and enjoy themselves.
“People made a lot of the arrival of Thiago, but a couple of people have said he really slows things down and doesn’t really play the way Liverpool play.
“Liverpool over the past few years have had hard-working midfielders, they are skillful – not as skillful as Thiago – but they gave the ball to Mane and to Salah early, and if those guys get the ball early on the wing and they run at players they are very had to stop, if not impossible to stop.
“I just feel that Thiago… everyone was raving about him coming to Liverpool but he’s hardly played. He played two games, he came on against Chelsea where he had the most passes in the second-half but it was against Chelsea team that was down to ten men, then he came on against Newcastle in the last 25 minutes, Newcastle were dead on their feet and everyone was raving about how good he is.
“I can tell you, he is a good player, he is a skillful player, but there was never a time in Munich where people said, ‘he’s got to be the first name on the teamsheet’.
“So I’m very cautious when it comes to Thiago.
“He plays a different style of football. He likes to be in possession, but Liverpool were always good when they were not in possession, and then when they got in possession they played it quickly forward, and he’s not that type of player.
“So I think it’ll be very interesting when he does play more often now how it’s going to change the dynamics of the team.”
Interesting. Hamann knows Bayern Munich and Liverpool inside-out. He will have watched Thiago a lot more than most in recent years, so his analysis is certainly worth listening to.
Hamann then took to Twitter and further reiterated his point that Thiago is unlikely to change his team’s dynamics “for the better”.
Liverpool fans – including Hamann himself – will all be hoping that Thiago ends up being a huge success at Anfield.
But Hamann is the first ex-Red to publicly voice his concerns.