Not two months have passed since Liverpool signed one Bayern Munich contract rebel, and they are already tentatively eyeing another.
But lightning couldn't strike twice...could it?
There is little doubt at this stage that Liverpool are admirers of David Alaba. A source confirmed as much to 90min on Monday; after previously ruling the Premier League out, he is once again considering a move to England, and the Reds have already told him there will be an offer if he wants it.
The similarities with Thiago are clear. Like with the Spaniard, Hasan Salihamidzic has announced well in advance that Alaba will be leaving the club, and he would represent a similar break from policy - being a 28-year-old on high wages with a far-from-immaculate injury record.
There have even been concerns, most notably from former keeper David James, that signing Alaba would represent short-term thinking from the Reds recruitment team - that it could have a negative impact on the development of the young stars emerging at the shiny new AXA Training Centre.
If the arrival of Thiago taught us one thing, however, it's that exceptions will be made in exceptional circumstances. David Alaba available on a free transfer? That's exceptional.
It's difficult to see that he would push anyone down the ladder, particularly with Joel Matip's situation worsening as the years progress. The Cameroonian was a much needed steady hand against Manchester City, but has managed just 16 appearances since Liverpool won the Champions League in 2019 - it's unclear how much longer he can be relied upon.
Signing Alaba, a constantly evolving player whose most recent forward stride has seen him emerge as a top centre-back, mitigates the obvious problems his fitness record poses.
It's possible that because of the Austrian's immense versatility, he rarely gets the credit he deserves for his accomplishments in any given position. Prior to Hansi Flick's tenure as manager, however, he was one of the best left-backs in the game, and while his move inside might have derailed that momentum, he instead took a ropey Bayern defence by the scruff of the neck and inspired them to greatness.
He started 23 successive games at centre-back between November and April on their way to the Bundesliga title, showcasing his leadership and organisational skills in a run that yielded 19 wins. Their successful Champions League run was a similar story - Alaba played every single minute of their knockout games at the heart of defence.
He was pivotal to the rebuild that recovered Bayern's season at the drop of the hat, and it's easy to see where Liverpool could benefit from his attributes. While he's not the most physically imposing centre-back at 5'11, he makes up for that with his positional ability and speed of thought.
He's pocketed so many strikers who might have expected to have the better of him physically - the imposing Wout Weghorst barely got a kick in 180 minutes against Bayern last season due to his marshalling of the back line.
Evidently, Alaba lacks the physical presence of Virgil van Dijk, but he has most of the other attributes that have made the big Dutchman the best in the world at what he does. And he's available for free.
The question remains over where he would fit into the first team, but modern football is far more than a starting XI. Alaba would push the likes of Matip, Joe Gomez, and the host of younger centre-backs coming up the rear of the first team, to be better.
And if a lack of minutes at centre-back are a problem, Jurgen Klopp is well aware of what else Alaba offers. During his seven years at Borussia Dortmund, the German watched him line up at left-back, central midfield and even on the left wing - he's a positional shape-shifter, making him a potentially invaluable asset to a manager who wants to keep opponents guessing with his team selections.
With James Milner being gradually phased out, it's even possible that Alaba could assume the role he once held - racking up regular minutes in various positions depending on what is needed at the time. 'Utility man' doesn't do it justice - Alaba would be Liverpool's second best centre-back from the moment he steps in the door - but his dexterity and versatility would be obvious assets.
This is one of the needles in the haystack of transfer stories that just makes sense. Alaba fits the jigsaw, solving several problems for Liverpool in one fell swoop. He'll have plenty of offers, so the Reds will have to move decisively, and soon, if they do want to bring him to Anfield.
Like his former Bayern teammate, however, Alaba stands on the fringes of 'no-brainer'.
Source : 90min