Liverpool have bounced back from their Champions League final defeat at the weekend with the signing of the hotly-sought after Monaco midfielder Fabinho. The Brazilian will join the Reds at the beginning of July with the deal potentially worth over £40 million according to BBC Sport. It is thought that the 24-year-old has been signed as a replacement for Emre Can who is expected to depart on a free transfer this summer. It is a disappointing blow that the German is leaving the club, but Jurgen Klopp has been proactive to find a replacement and he deserves praise for getting this deal done quickly.
Since the German took over as manager, Liverpool have become more efficient in the transfer window and they have regularly made signings to improve the team. There was a slight mishap last summer with Virgil van Dijk and their approach, but they have clearly learned from that and the Fabinho transfer shows that they are doing their business quietly. The defensive midfielder has been a target for several of the top European clubs and it is a coup that the Reds have managed to get him to Anfield. It gives them momentum at the beginning of the summer and lifted the fan-base after the Champions League defeat.
Fabinho looks a great fit for Liverpool’s 4-3-3 system. His versatility provides options for Jurgen Klopp, but the Brazilian is likely to be the first-choice holding midfielder. Last season, he averaged 1.81 tackles won and 1.48 interceptions per ninety minutes in Ligue 1. He is very aggressive and looks to win the ball back at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile, he is dominant in the air as shown by his aerial duels win percentage of 65.81%. This is highly impressive and an indicator that he will be well suited to the physicality of the Premier League. It may take him time to adapt to the style, but given time, he will emerge as a dominant force in the middle of the park.
The Brazilian is a forward-thinking player and he looks to make positive contributions where possible. In last season’s Ligue 1, 65.5% of his passes went forwards. Meanwhile, his pass completion of 87% underlines that he is reliable in possession. His reading of the game and positional play stand out, with his previous experience at right-back helping him in this regard. The modern defensive midfielder is expected to carry the ball and Fabinho is capable of striding up the pitch with his head up to pick a pass. He will add dynamism and power to the Liverpool midfield.
Squad building is becoming an art in the modern game and Fabinho will prove to be an asset for Liverpool. He is capable of playing in a number of midfield roles, while he can fill in at full-back if required. Another positive of the transfer is what it will do to the rest of the squad. It is a clear indication that Liverpool want to continue pushing on and the players already at the club will be buoyed by that.
It was clear on Saturday that Liverpool were weak in the centre of the park. Real Madrid had two world-class operators in Toni Kroos and Luka Modric who managed to run the game. Klopp has clearly addressed this as an area that needs improvement and the Reds look to have solved that already just days after their season ended. The classy Naby Keita will arrive this summer from RB Leipzig and a potential partnership with Fabinho is mouthwatering. They offer clear upgrades and supporters should be excited about what the future holds.