After a few no-breaking-news days on the Manchester United transfers front, there have been strong reports in the last couple of days that the Red Devils have made an official bid up to €50m (inclusive of add-ons) for AS Monaco’s midfield dynamo Fabinho.
Dynamo, incidentally is one of United Kingdom’s more famous personalities – a recognisable magician and performer who could often be seen levitating above the statue of ‘Christ – The Redeemer’ overlooking the whole of Brazil, among other things to earn a living.
This Brazilian midfielder in question is a magician too, but within the confines of a football field – as his stellar displays from the middle of the park have proved to be vital to the Ligue 1 side wrestling the crown away from Paris Saint Germain last season.
Besides the fact that he is only 23, with an athletic build, quick and agile off the ball, what Fabinho could bring to United is an age-defying authority in midfield, the kind of which they would definitely lack when Michael Carrick finally hangs his boots.
His ability to play in a variety of roles has not gone unnoticed either, as the very notion that he could play as well in the middle – where peripheral vision and decision-making skills are the prerequisites – as he can at right-back where athleticism and raw pace on the ball could render oneself lethal to the opposition – shows how vital and rounded an asset he could be to any team in Europe, let alone Manchester United who need strengthening in both the areas.
For a club that is often criticised for overspending on transfer fees and rightly so, this could be the one acquisition that has the potential to show them in a different light – finally Manchester United could actually make a signing that every rival club would be envious of – both in terms of the player they are getting and the money they are forking out to do so.
The options that Fabinho could open up at Old Trafford are quite exciting too. Having excelled in a two-man midfield alongside the towering Bakayoko tasked with more attacking duties, the 23-year old has certainly impressed in front of goal – with 10 goals and 4 assists in 37 appearances. Averaging an impressive number of tackles (3.1) and interceptions (1.6) per game in all competitions, the midfielder has shown that he is also capable to deliver the other half of his role.
Under Jose Mourinho – who is no stranger to rotating his options in midfield according to the profile of the opposition, Fabinho will be the crowning jewel to assemble his Manchester United side around – whose spine is stronger than it has ever been in the last three years, with the arrivals of Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Bailly and more recently, Lindelof.
In a window where United have been linked with the likes of Perisic, Morata and even the usual suspects in Ronaldo and Bale, Fabinho is still the one – perhaps ‘the’ one that has left the supporters all dreamy-eyed and mouthwatering. The midfielder has not helped himself or the fans by admitting to being ‘tempted’ by the invitation of Manchester United and Jose Mourinho.
Given the alternatives that United could sign to bolster their midfield, a list which includes a 30-year old Matuidi in the final year of his contract – a cheaper but short-term solution, Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic who is neither as good nor multi-functional an option to justify an almost similar price and a highly rated Eric Dier who carries an even higher price tag and the prospect of negotiating with Daniel Levy – Fabinho is, without any degree of uncertainty, the best option available in the market.
United have been doing very few things right in the last four title-less years – and most of those have come in the last year since the Portuguese has arrived. They have been pretenders in the Premier League for far too long now but signing the Brazilian Fabinho should put their status as one of the main contenders for the title beyond any shred of doubt.