Liverpool made a shock announcement yesterday night as they signed Fabinho from AS Monaco.
The Merseyside club was merely linked to Fabinho an hour before the official announcement. The move caught everyone unawares as a £43.7 million deal was agreed with Monaco for the Brazilian star. Fabinho transfer stories ruled the transfer market for years. In the previous transfer window, Manchester United were also linked with the midfielder.
The acquisition of Fabinho will be a major boost for Liverpool, as the purchase comes on the brink of a painful loss in the Champions League final. Liverpool lost the final 3-1 to Real Madrid. The addition of Fabinho, with Naby Keita soon joining the squad will prove to be a sudden upgrade in the Liverpool’s midfield. Liverpool are also linked with Nabil Fekir, and should the signing be successful, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool may become the title-challengers next season.
Fabinho made his first move to European football when he signed for Real Madrid on loan from Rio Ave in 2012. He made 30 appearances for Real Madrid Castilla, but failed to break into senior team. The Brazilian midfielder played only one game for the first team, before signing for Monaco on loan with his Brazilian club. He established himself as an important first-team player, playing in the French side as a defensive midfielder. Fabinho has also played as a right-back for Monaco in a few games.
However, since permanently signing for AS Monaco, he has been a midfielder throughout his time at the club. Fabinho played a key role in Monaco’s successful league campaign in the 2016-17 season, when the club finished as Ligue 1 champions. He parterned Tiemoue Bakayoko in a two-man midfield, playing a deeper role in the side. He played in front of the defenders, averting any potential attack from the middle.
Fabinho has made his name as a strong defensive midfielder for AS Monaco. He ranked very highly in the French league this season in most traits which one would associate with a defensive midfielder. He leads the charts in tackles and interceptions, and is way ahead of other defensive midfielders in the league in terms of clearances and aerial duels won.
AS Monaco’s playing style resembles Liverpool in terms of their attacking play. Fabinho performs his role as a defensive midfielder efficiently, shielding the defenders and making forward passes as soon as the ball is won.
What will Fabinho offer and where will he fit?
If Jurgen Klopp persists with a 4-2-3-1, Fabinho will find it easy partnering Naby Keita. Liverpool’s playing style is offensive, and Klopp likes his team to commit towards pressing with as many players as possible.
Fabinho’s presence in the middle will provide the freedom for players to burst into attack, and will also ease the burden over the fullbacks. His excellent intercepting skills and his ability in the air will provide Liverpool with an option to bolster players into attack.
At present, Fabinho’s role was executed by Jordan Henderson and James Milner. While both the players had decent outings this season, having a specialist defensive midfielder eases the pressure on Jurgen Klopp. With the arrival of Naby Keita, both the midfielders can form a strong defensive partnership in the middle.
In a 4-3-3, which Jurgen Klopp prefers, Fabinho’s role is obvious. He sits back deep which allows the other two midfielders to press forward, alongside the star-studded Liverpool attacking trio. Liverpool had issues breaking down teams when they decide to sit back deep, and hence such a formation, with the arrival of Naby Keita and possibly Nabil Fekir, will instil creativity in the Liverpool midfield.
Liverpool made a strong statement with the signing of Fabinho. Naby Keita will officially join the squad on July 1. Liverpool’s pursuit of Nabil Fekir will be an interesting transfer story. However, the Merseyside club still needs to invest in their defence. Liverpool’s defence has been reckless throughout the Premier League season, which saw them finish 4th in the league.