Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara is reportedly unhappy with life at the club and has advised Barcelona he would like to return.
According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana), the player's father, Mazinho, has been speaking to Barcelona about a potential move away from the Camp Nou for Thiago's brother, Rafinha. During the discussions, he's said to have made it clear the 26-year-old would like to come back.
The report suggested Thiago is not enjoying working under Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes, who took over for the sacked Carlo Ancelotti earlier in the campaign.
Thiago honed his skills in the Barcelona youth setup and was expected to have a bright future at the club. However, in 2013 the Blaugrana agreed to sell him to Bayern, who had appointed former Barca boss Pep Guardiola as manager.
As journalist Rafael Hernandez noted, Thiago was keen to make the switch to the Munich club at the time:
Since his move to the Allianz Arena, Thiago has gone from strength to strength and is now rated as one of the best midfielders in world football.
Barcelona would have looked on enviously at the development of their La Masia graduate, as they've spent big money trying to sort their midfield since his departure.
While the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho have been successes, players such as Andre Gomes, Arda Turan and Denis Suarez have failed to make the grade consistently at the club. Indeed, regardless of the number of options available to Ernesto Valverde, it's an area that needs bolstering.
Andres Iniesta can still be effective, although he's no longer the force of nature he once was. The Blaugrana have also found complete control in the middle third hard to come by since Xavi's departure in 2015.
Thiago is one of a few players in world football capable of adding that dominance. As WhoScored.com noted, the Spain international loves to get on the ball in the final third:
The quintessential Barcelona traits are bristling in Thiago's game. Technically he is an outstanding footballer, able to take the ball in tight areas, manipulate space and find team-mates in dangerous positions. Additionally, the Bayern No. 6 can open up defences by carrying possession through phases and drawing opponents out of position.
As Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC noted in the summer, Barcelona appear to have allowed a couple of players to move on who may have made a big difference:
It'd be a huge surprise if Bayern were willing to entertain offers for Thiago. While Heynckes may not be the Spaniard's preferred coach, the veteran manager is only scheduled to take charge until the end of the campaign. A new boss may prompt a new mindset from the playmaker.
As for Barcelona, according to Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague, they are ready to make an offer of €150 million (£133 million) for Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho. You sense Bayern would be unwilling to let their creator-in-chief depart for anything less.