Wednesday 15 August 2018

Liverpool sign Fabinho and prepare new bid for Roma goalkeeper

Liverpool have been interested in Fabinho for some time. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Liverpool have been interested in Fabinho for some time. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Jason Burt

Liverpool have signed midfielder Fabinho from Monaco for a fee of up to €50m (£43.7m).

The 24-year-old Brazilian is set to replace Emre Can, who is expected to leave with his contract expiring, and will play the 'No 6' role as the midfield anchor for Jurgen Klopp.

The deal is part of a significant recruitment drive by Liverpool, who are committed to signing midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig for €55m, are in talks to buy Lyon attacker Nabil Fekir for around €65m and will make another attempt to sign Roma goalkeeper Alisson for a similar amount.

If all four deals are completed, it would mean an outlay far in excess of €200m for Liverpool, who received €150m from Barcelona for Coutinho in January, days after they broke their transfer record by signing Virgil van Dijk for €80m.

Even so, during his three years at Liverpool, Klopp has effectively broken even in the transfer market and has money to spend now.

After the deal was announced, Fabinho said: "I am really excited about this move. This is something that I always wanted - this is a giant of a team. The infrastructures of the club look exceptional.

"A football club of this size coming after my services, I didn't have to think that much about coming over. I will try to grow and learn and improve myself, and to be part of the club's history."

Liverpool have been interested in Fabinho for some time and were among a host of clubs - including Paris St-Germain and Manchester United - to make an inquiry last summer, when they also tried to sign winger Thomas Lemar.

Both players were told by Monaco that they had to stay for another season.

The Fabinho deal represents something of a coup for the club.

Liverpool's bold move is a sign of their ambition, having reached the Champions League final, losing on Saturday to holders Real Madrid. The lack of strength in depth in the Liverpool squad was exposed in that match.

Can was on the bench against Real but, with his contract running out on June 30, he is due to leave Liverpool and is expected to sign for the Italian champions Juventus. An announcement is imminent.

Fabinho has had another good season with Monaco and is a versatile player who can perform anywhere across the midfield and at full-back, although Klopp has identified him as a defensive midfielder.

Fabinho initially joined Monaco on a season-long loan in July 2013 after a disappointing spell with Real Madrid, where he played just 14 minutes, and has earned four caps for Brazil but is not in their squad for the World Cup.

Klopp was already considering a new goalkeeper before Loris Karius's calamitous mistakes in the Champions League final and his first choice would be Alisson.

Tentative inquiries for the Brazilian international were rebuffed earlier this season, but a fresh effort is now expected from the Anfield club.

Irish Independent

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