The 24 year old will join the club on the 1st July after the Reds completed a deal that was a throwback to the days before Sky Sports News. The deal was concluded so suddenly and so unexpectedly the transfer could have been announced on Ceefax. This is truly a throwback, where even the respected beat journalists only came to find out about the move less than hour before the club announced the transfer to the world.
Not only have we managed to sign a player of real quality, we have managed to give the fans a lift after the disappointment of Saturday. With many of our supporters still making their way back from the Ukrainian capital, we’ve been able to provide a boost for all as we make a statement in the transfer market.
The good news is that Fabinho is versatile, able to play as a holding or more advanced central midfielder and at right back. With the way he has performed over the latter half of the season it’s safe to say that Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to be first choice for next season but in Fabinho it would seem that we are expanding our options in several positions.
However, I expect the Brazilian international to spend much of his time in central midfield, which will free up fellow new signing Naby Keita to push further up the pitch. With rumours persisting that Nabil Fekir is to follow, parked buses could well come under sustained bombardment at Anfield next season. Fabinho is effectively a replacement for Emre Can, who seems set for a protracted (aka boring) move to Juventus.
The timing of the deal gives fans a boost but in a World Cup summer, it makes sense for Liverpool to try and get any potential transfers done as early as possible. Fabinho hasn’t made the squad for Brazil’s trip to Russia next month but other potential targets may well be. I don’t know if there was any competition for this deal but the rumour mill has long linked the player to Manchester United. Getting the transfer completed now wards off any gazumping or deals falling through, as has happened several times in the past.
A tall unit, Fabinho will make a massive difference to the way we set up. I’m not inferring he’s as good because he won’t be, but we have missed a presence in the centre of midfield since the departure of Javier Mascherano in 2010. We haven’t come close to replacing The Chief and for my money, three consecutive managers have suffered because of that fact. This should give us ample opportunity to have someone who’s natural game it is to sit and hold but who can also push on if required. But with the potential attacking line up we could have in 2018-2019, Fabinho should be able to sit in, retrieve possession and let others do their thing.
It will be interesting to watch how the Brazilian adapts to life in the Premier League engine room. He has just completed his second season as a central midfielder having made his name as a right back. From what I have seen (and there’s nothing like a transfer to get the YouTube “Welcome to…” compilations on the go) he’s athletic, has high levels of stamina and is very good on the ball. Certainly, he has played some unreal defence splitting passes. His time as a full back seems to have helped him improve his passing range and he covers a lot of ground. He is good at dropping back and covering spaces left by his full backs as he knows a lot about their game.
Have we signed the complete number 6? I don’t know about that. From the talk earlier in the year, we wanted to sign Napoli’s Jorginho to fulfil that role. But that particular Brazilian is off to Manchester City it would seem. However, we have moved quickly to sign the central midfielder that we badly need. Someone who can use the ball and be comfortable in possession but be disciplined and give the defence a hand. It really does look like we have made a top quality signing that has come from nowhere and the club do need to be commended for that.
With time of the essence due to the impending tournament in Russia, it wouldn’t surprise me if we have some more signings ready to go in the immediate future. It’s a long way back from the crushing disappointment we had to endure against Real Madrid but the best way to do it is to cause optimism for the next season. With this big money move completed and exciting rumours continuing to swirl, how can we not look forward to what August will bring?