The signings of Thiago Alcantara by Liverpool and Gareth Bale by Tottenham in the space of 24 hours last week proved one thing.
That champions do things one way and those looking in do them another.
Thiago had no relationship whatsoever with Liverpool before they decided to sign him.
It was just a case of Jurgen Klopp looking at his squad, looking at Thiago and saying, ‘He has what we’re missing, let’s get him in.
That’s completely at odds with Spurs’s move for Bale, who has only been brought back because he used to play for them.
Yes, Bale is world-class when he’s on the top of his game.
But he only managed 20 appearances for Real Madrid last season and how many 31-year-olds, however good they are or have been, will be on the radars of current or wannabe champions when they’ve barely played for a year?
That’s why it’s a purely emotional move and one that could work but only with a fair wind.
Champions don’t deal with fair winds, though, only also-rans do that.
Which is why Liverpool will be fighting for the title and Tottenham will be scrapping to finish in the top six again in a season when, with the right investment, they could easily have been finishing in the top four.
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You could tell within seconds of Thiago coming on against Chelsea that he will give Liverpool a new dimension.
He has that sixth sense that such as Paul Scholes had, something that gives them an extra split-second on the ball compared to those they’re playing against.
And when you get a player who can think quickly and take you quickly from a defensive passage of play on to the front foot, you have to cherish him because he is absolute gold-dust.
I said after Liverpool’s game against Leeds last week that five or six times last season when I was at Anfield they struggled to break opponents down and that better teams might have taken advantage.
But Thiago has played against teams week in, week out in the Bundesliga who got bodies behind the ball, especially in the first 15 or 20 minutes, so he knows exactly how to work that bit of magic already for Klopp.
I look at Thiago’s signing and think it’s the kind that teams can make when things are going their way.
He’s an international with a top European country, a serial winner who is a good age and who has come at a good price.
Do you think Bale’s return will be a success? Have your say below.
There was never any chat of him going elsewhere, the deal just fell completely into place.
When things aren’t going your way, potential deals come with strings attached, the agent is pimping the player out to six or seven clubs, the price keeps getting higher and, when he walks through the door, there’s a bit of an attitude as well.
Yet there doesn’t seem to be any arrogance with Thiago, he seems quite a humble guy and he will fit in alongside Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Co with ease.
His move to Liverpool is perfect for the player and the club.
Which isn’t something you could say about Bale’s return to Tottenham.
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