Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed he only recently considered the prospect of signing Thiago Alcantara after previously believing he would be “out of reach”.
The Premier League champions confirmed on Friday that they had captured the 29-year-old from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).
Thiago has arrived at Anfield on a four-year contract, with the Reds paying an initial £20m (€22m), plus an additional £5m (€5.5m) in potential bonuses.
Klopp has been a long-time admirer of the midfielder but did not think the Spain international would be prepared to leave Champions League holders Bayern anytime soon.
“Thiago – settled that much at Bayern – is usually out of reach for pretty much everybody,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website. “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 last season as well.
“He just was ready for a new challenge and he decided it was with us. But did I think about him earlier? I thought a lot about him but never as a potential transfer, to be honest.”
Thiago arrives at Anfield as a Champions League and Bundesliga winner but Klopp says his squad will not be in awe of him given their own European and Premier League success over the past two seasons.
“The players are happy,” he added. “Since they knew about it they are really excited about it as well. And when they meet him, they will know he is a guy who doesn’t need any special treatment.
“He won the Champions League this year but all the other guys won it last year. Yes, he became German champion this year; our guys became English champions.
“It’s not that somebody is coming in and now we have to roll red carpets out or whatever; not at all. He wants to be part of the team, work hard and be as successful as possible.”
Klopp confirmed that Thiago will not be part of the squad for their top-flight clash with Chelsea on Sunday, meaning he could make his debut in the EFL Cup meeting with Lincoln City on Thursday.