Liverpool beat Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Manchester United in the race to sign Fabinho and how they did it signals a return to the top bracket in terms of transfers.
It’s natural to think that Jürgen Klopp is the key figure in any and every transfer that goes on at Liverpool these days and while it’s true that the German has been influential as far as attracting top talent is concerned, there is a lot more to it than meets they eye.
Last summer, when Southampton reported Liverpool to the Premier League for tapping up Virgil van Dijk, Klopp got the blame and rightly so.
But behind the scenes, Michael Edwards, the club’s sporting director, was working tirelessly to put out fires alongside Mike Gordon, FSG co-owner.
Reaching the Champions League final, while playing the brand of football they have, has made Liverpool a very attractive prospect for the top footballers in Europe and this can be quantified by Fabinho’s move to Merseyside.
Manchester United, who finished second in the Premier League and made it to the FA Cup final, were snubbed by the Brazilian while Arsenal made a late push but were told: “he wanted Liverpool.”
Likewise, Atletico Madrid made a €35 million bid to AS Monaco, which was apparently accepted, before Liverpool blew the Europa League winners out of the water for a fee that could rise to €50 million.
Fabinho’s decision to choose Liverpool over London, Madrid and Manchester is the pleasing continuation of a trend begun by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last summer when he decided to move to Merseyside instead of joining Chelsea.
As Neil Jones writes for Goal, Nabil Fekir is being targeted by the Blues and if he is to join the Reds this summer, he will also need to make the decision to choose Klopp over Conte – or whoever else might be Chelsea boss next season.
As Fabinho told Liverpool’s official website himself: “Liverpool showed a lot of interest in me quite early. That was also very important because I felt the club wanted me to come. Then, I was able to know a bit more about the city of Liverpool.
“Liverpool are in a league that is probably the best in the world, so there were many positive points for me to choose to come and I am very, very happy to be here.”
With Naby Keita set to join Liverpool for £62 million and Fabinho joining for around £43 million, Jürgen Klopp will have over £100m invested into two new midfielders that will raise the level of quality in the engine room significantly.
Both midfielders chose Liverpool over other clubs and to Klopp, that desire to play for him and him only is as valuable as the talent they possess.
Neil Jones writes that Arsenal were told: “there was no point; the player wanted Liverpool.”
Liverpool are back, both in terms of challenging for the highest honours, and in terms of dominating the transfer market instead of being bossed around by the likes of Barcelona and English rivals.
Writing for Goal, Neil Jones also reveals that Liverpool are no longer interested in Thomas Lemar after Monaco refused to sell the Frenchman last summer and in January this year.
Since then, interest in the 22-year-old has “faded” and Klopp has moved onto other targets.
Given that Liverpool wrapped up a deal for Fabinho so early, it leaves Klopp, Edwards and co. plenty of time to focus on other transfer targets.