Liverpool swept the rug from under the transfer window on Monday night as they pulled out off a coup out of nowhere with the signing of Brazil midfielder Fabinho from AS Monaco.
The 25-year-old has been seemingly linked to every club under the sun after the mini-exodus at Monaco last season saw Kylian Mbappe, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy all leave the principality.
Now he joins an already high-octane Liverpool side – catch up with all of Sport360’s analysis on the move below.
Brendon Netto has been contemplating how Jurgen Klopp will incorporate the all-action midfielder into his ‘heavy metal’ system – and he may even decide on a change of formation. He also speculates that his arrival may give Mohamed Salah the freedom of a Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nabil Fekir and Alisson are also being tracked by the Reds and we’ve dreamed up exactly how the Champions League finalists may look this season. It’s pretty exciting.
Elsewhere, Aditya Devavrat takes a statistical deep dive into what made Fabinho such a hot property during his last two seasons with Monaco. The good news is that he’s not afraid of creating chances.
And if you like your analysis in video format, check out some of the key facts here.
Fabinho himself – and his happy new manager – have also had their say.
Klopp has also given his thumbs up to the £43 million move, with the German positively beaming about the fact that his new star can ‘play ‘6’, ‘8’ and ‘2’. This is cool‘.
It’s a signing that sends a message to the rest of the Premier League‘s top six. Liverpool, who narrowly missed out on a trophy this season after losing the Champions League final to Real Madrid, and failed to mount a serious title challenge in the league, are strengthening their squad in an area of need.
Fabinho, a defensive midfielder who was the glue of Monaco’s wildly successful 2016-17 season when they won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semi-final, instantly strengthens Jurgen Klopp’s midfield, giving the German depth and solidity in the centre of the park along with the impending arrival of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.
That Fabinho was wanted by several other European clubs is proof enough of his quality, if any were required. The Brazilian was a stabilising force for Monaco this season after the reigning champions saw a host of players leave last summer, with Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, and Kylian Mbappe headlining the departures.
But although Fabinho looked at times as if he was disinterested, and affected by not getting a move of his own, his play rarely dipped. He combined for a total of 14 goals and assists across Ligue 1 and the Champions League in 2016-17, and got another 10 this season in a weaker team, creating a similar number of chances while remaining a reliable defensive presence.
Fabinho should fit in easily at Liverpool, with Monaco’s thrilling, speedy attack similar to the one that has gripped audiences at Anfield. The thought of the Brazilian looking to pick out Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane should have fans salivating.
The 24-year-old, alongside a 23-year-old Keita and fellow 24-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain, will form a young core that more than makes up for the impending loss of Can – not to mention, a trio that has the potential to develop into one of the Premier League’s best midfields.
If the transfer pans out as the player’s record at Monaco suggests it will, Liverpool could soon have bigger reason to celebrate.
The midfielder, who will officially join from Monaco on July 1 in a deal worth up to £43.7million, spoke extensively with his Brazil team-mate about Anfield and life on Merseyside before his move.
Fabinho admits Firmino’s raised performance levels have not gone unnoticed and he wants to follow the same path.
“I’ve been following Liverpool for a few years, in particular since Firmino arrived,” he told LFCTV.
“After he arrived here he was able to achieve higher development at this football club. Because he had success, I hope the same happens to me.
“We spoke a bit more about the infrastructure of the club, the city and we also spoke about the coaches and how they do their work so I was able to know a bit more about Liverpool through Firmino.
“I had been with him at the Brazilian national team on a few occasions. I know he’s a fantastic person, his background is from nice people.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 28, 2018
“He is also very good for someone who comes to a new country, a new city – someone who speaks the same language.
“This will of course make the adaptation much easier.”
Fabinho could well be joined by another Brazil team-mate if, as expected manager Jurgen Klopp looks to upgrade his goalkeeper this summer.
The position has been the subject of debate since before Klopp arrived in October 2015, but Loris Karius’ mistakes in the Champions League final have intensified the scrutiny.
Klopp has an interest in Roma’s Alisson, although he could face paying a premium for a player valued at £60million, with the Italian club having been burned by last summer’s forced £38million sale of Mohamed Salah to the Reds in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
Liverpool moved quickly to get the Fabinho deal done virtually under the radar but they have no such hope if they pursue Alisson after Roma’s sporting director Monchi was moved to speak about the goalkeeper’s situation.
“In order for a player to leave, there have to be three elements in place – an offer, a yes from the club and from the player,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“As of today, we have nothing of the sort. We are happy to keep him, transfer rumours are normal at this stage.”
Speculation about a number of goalkeepers has increased following Karius’ high-profile errors in Kiev.
The 24-year-old German was at fault for Karim Benzema’s opener and Gareth Bale’s second goal in the 3-1 defeat, and former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy believes that will end his Liverpool career.
“I actually feel sorry for him. I really do. Nobody goes into a game wanting to make mistakes,” he told talkSPORT.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll play in a Liverpool shirt again. It’s impossible for him.
“I think (with) the magnitude of the mistakes and the enormity of the game, the supporters will struggle with him being in goal for them.
“And the continual ribbing he will get week in, week out, wherever he goes – that’s going to be huge pressure for him.
“I just can’t see him playing again. That’s not being dramatic – that’s a reality of the situation.”
Provided by Press Association Sport