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Real Madrid v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

It only took a few words from Thiago Alcántara for the floodgates of speculation to open. The former Barcelona midfielder has long been thought of as ‘the one that got away’ by many Blaugrana fans and his recent comments have left many wondering if a return is imminent.

In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, Thiago was asked about his future at Bayern Munich and whether or not he would consider a move back to Barcelona. His response left us with more questions than answers.

”Let’s see. I told you I renewed with Bayern last year, but it’s very complicated,” Thiago said. “Football is very difficult…”

Football is very difficult and predicting future transfers even more so but there’s no doubt that somewhere within the deep lying recesses of Barcelona fandom, there were many who celebrated such rhetoric. Thiago is a cult figure of sorts within Blaugrana circles. His style of play is synonymous with the club’s ethos and his past is deeply rooted within the La Masia system. It’s easy to see why many would like to see a return to the club that made him the player he is today.

Barcelona FC v Malaga CF - Copa del Rey Quarter Final Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Still, for all those who yearn for the return of a prodigal son, there are just as many who feel Thiago is best left to Barcelona’s past. Alcántara elicits a maelstrom of passion from Barcelona fans-both for and against-but despite the polarising nature of the player, there’s no denying that his skill set fills a void within the Blaugrana squad. One that is even more glaring with the departure of Andrés Iniesta.

For all the talk of Griezmann and Lenglet as potential targets, the real issue still eludes the club. The midfield is in desperate need of an upgrade and Thiago is just the kind of player needed. He plays the holding role better than almost anyone in world football and with Valverde’s preference for a 4-4-2, his play would be complimentary to that of Sergio Busquets’, especially should Valverde use a double pivot in his formation.

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF  - Liga BBVA Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Thiago also has the versatility to play in both central and attacking midfield roles and even if injury forces him to play a reduced number of games-something that is highly likely given his history-his addition would undoubtedly allow for a better rotational policy for the team. Nobody wants a repeat of the disaster in Rome and ensuring better squad depth is paramount to avoiding player burn out.

Speculation is often nothing more than fiction but should Thiago desire a return to Football Club Barcelona, the board must ensure they do everything in their power to make it happen. Once bitten, twice shy should never apply to a player of Thiago’s celestial abilities and the team’s future is contingent on adding midfield quality such as the kind he possesses.