We will begin with the most obvious choice to take over the minutes for Thiago, and that is none other than Cesc Fabregas.
Fabregas was the player who directly competed with Thiago for playing time, but it is important to note that, statistically, he is actually a more influential player than Thiago was for Barcelona.
Not only did Fabregas score seven more goals than Thiago last season, he also gave six more assists and provided more key passes per game on average.
It is also important to remember that Fabregas played in nine more matches than Thiago. When comparing the two midfielders, they boast almost identical passing ratings, and WhoScored.com even gave them both an identical 7.25 score for their overall play last campaign.
However, most Barcelona fans will agree that statistics do not tell the whole story here.
Fabregas may have a slight edge offensively, but two things are overlooked. To begin with, covering for Thiago will mean that Fabregas will be backing up both Xavi and Andres Iniesta, leaving the midfield very thin indeed.
Above all else, it is the magic of Thiago that Fabregas lacks. When Thiago would come onto the pitch for Barcelona, fans were used to seeing dazzling play and unbelievable moves.
Though Cesc may be efficient, he lacks the flair and grace that made many fall in love with Thiago. Fabregas just is not Thiago and will have too much on his plate if forced to make up for the hole in the midfield.