ESPN’s Paris-based French football correspondent Jonathan Johnson spoke to Liverpool’s official website about what to expect from new signing Fabinho.
Out of the blue last month, Liverpool announced that Fabinho had joined the club for £43 million from AS Monaco on a five-year deal.
The Reds had secured a deal for Fabinho right from underneath the noses of domestic and European rivals, signaling the Reds’ intent after a season where they made it to the final of the Champions League in style.
With questions still surrounding Liverpool’s defence, signing a top holding midfielder in Fabinho meant that Jürgen Klopp had moved quickly and silently to bolster his side ahead of the 2018/19 season.
To demonstrate the type of player Liverpool have signed, the club’s official website spoke to Paris-based French football correspondent Jonathan Johnson.
On his origins, Johnson said: “Fabinho initially arrived on loan at Monaco back in 2013 after a spell with Real Madrid, which was mostly spent with their Castilla team. He remained on loan for his second season and it was only in 2015 that Monaco completed his purchase from Rio Ave.
“Fabinho was a regular in the starting XI from the beginning and played in 21 matches in Ligue 1 alone in 2013-14. However, it was not until Leonardo Jardim arrived in 2014 that he really became a key figure. The Portuguese’s tactical innovation to move the Brazilian from right-back to defensive midfield proved a masterstroke.”
The French football expert also spoke of his importance to the Ligue 1 title-winning team of 16/17, saying: “[He was] extremely important. There were a few key figures in that success and Fabinho was one of the main ones.
“He started 33 out of 38 possible Ligue 1 matches and featured in 37 of them, so was pretty much an ever-present, scoring nine goals (seven penalties) and providing one assist. His personality made him one of the leaders of the team too.”
Liverpool are looking for a similar impact as they target the Premier League title as the first piece of silverware to be won under Klopp.
Speaking on the timing of his move and what the Premier League can expect from him, Johnson said: “In an ideal world, Monaco would have kept hold of him. However, Fabinho and the club agreed that he could leave last summer until it became obvious that he wanted to join PSG.
“With Kylian Mbappe already leaving for Paris, Monaco refused to sanction Fabinho’s move there as well, which is why he was not allowed to move until this summer. Had it not been PSG pushing hardest to sign him, he probably would have left last year.
“Fabinho has been ready to move on since winning the Ligue 1 title and a change of scene will do him good. I do not see too many problems for him changing from Le Championnat to the Premier League.
“Coming from France, where there is greater emphasis on tactics, I expect Fabinho to be at a superior level to most Premier League players in that respect. Adapting to life in England might prove a challenge, but compatriot Roberto Firmino will likely be a big help there.”
Finally, the journalist spoke about what Liverpool fans can expect from the Brazilian next season: “Fabinho is combative and physical but he also possesses great technique.
“He is imposing in the air, comfortable in possession, sees long and short passes early, is not afraid of tackling and stays very composed.
“Having also played right-back, Fabinho is a versatile figure and should blend well with the likes of Naby Keïta.”