There’s been many wagging tongues about this transfer ‘coming out of nowhere’, however the subject had been well discussed at LFC Transfer Room. It was hotly debated whether we should post an exclusive, considering the calamitous & unscrupulous reports brought out by some so called ‘ITKs’ recently. Unfortunately, despite much hard work undertaken to gather evidence, we felt it was best to leave this rumour & avoid the possible damage to our credibility, should the transfer not materialise.
But now that the cat is well & truly out of the bag, we’ll tell you a little bit about the transfer & how we knew about it, roughly a month or so before the deal was concluded. Despite reports that Fabinho had apparently started speaking with Liverpool two or three weeks ago, there were signs that the interest from both sides was present months before.
Private Jet to Blackpool
On 16th April 2018, one day after losing 7-1 to Paris Saint Germain, the Brazilian was seen by someone from the Monaco supporters club at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, who speculated that he was due to meet representatives of Liverpool. Some time passed before we really took this seriously, but sources close to the player had then eluded to us that Fabinho was in fact of interest to Liverpool.
The information seemed to be legitimate, so we decided to subscribe to a site well travelled by some on Twitter, FlightRadar24.com, or order to track this flight. We had a small window of time in which this journey could have happened, so we looked back in their records. Our search almost ended prematurely, as no flights showed up on Merseyside having centred the search on Liverpool John Lennon Airport. However, having shelled out the mighty sum of £2 on this subscription we decided to switch the search to what had departed Nice at the time.
It was a real moment of shock, seeing a flight depart at 09:08 CET, just 26 minutes prior to @Arsmc98’s tweet regarding Fabinho. Jaws hit the floor when we tracked the flight all the way to the north-west of England, only to see it pass Liverpool & land at Blackpool.
The similarities with the well tracked Van Dijk plane were obvious. The same make of private jet (Cessna) & the lack of destination or callsign given on the plane, keeping it ‘secret.’ Our minds were still in a state of disbelieving, desperately thinking of some sort of link as to why this would all be a coincidence. We ran through a month previous & a month after the 16th April. There were no other flights between The French Rivera & Blackpool.
Private jets have history in exciting Liverpool supporters, but it wasn’t enough to speak about a potential transfer in our eyes. Combining this with what we had been told however, was a completely different matter. We cover every transfer rumour under the sun (And excluding The S*n) but to our knowledge there had been no link at all between Fabinho & Liverpool for the past two years. As no one was mentioning any link between Liverpool and Fabinho, we tried our best to get find other information to confirm these unbelievable findings.
In December of last year, the Brazilian told L’Equipe that it was probably his last season at Monaco. After the failure of his move to Paris Saint Germain last summer, AS Monaco had a debt to let him leave.
In May, an AS Monaco fan page had told us that Fabinho and his agent Jorge Mendes had been in contact with Liverpool. However the info was not particularly recent & they assured us that Jose Mourinho was the one who had the greatest desire to sign him.
We speculated, deliberated & procrastinated over the possibility of him signing for Liverpool. Where would he’d fit into a Klopp team? How much he’d cost? For us, it was clear that he wouldn’t cost much more than €60M (£52.22M). It was obvious that the Brazilian’s previous season wasn’t as good as the prior year, when he was part of Monaco’s title wining side. Another possible bargaining chip for Michael Edwards was his confusing yet public exclusion from Brazil’s World Cup Squad for Russia.
There was clear need for a midfielder in the team with the seemingly imminent departure of Emre Can to Juventus. As many have commented in recent hours, Fabinho seems the perfect replacement for the German if or when he leaves. Finally, Fabinho fitted perfectly into Klopp’s system as he’s a strong and clever player, very similar to the type of midfielder he’d use at Dortmund side.
Two days after our original contact from Fabinho’s entourage, more information was given to us. This time, after increasing speculation about a move to Atletico Madrid, it was confirmed to us that the Brazilian midfielder was leaving for England & not Spain. Unfortunately that was still no less than vague, considering the obvious links to the two Manchester clubs. Despite it still being a puzzle, everything had fallen into place for a possible transfer to Liverpool, something that we couldn’t ignore. We expected a journalist to lazily link a Liverpool team needing a defensive midfielder & a quality anchor man looking for a new club. But still, nothing came.
Some of us were adamant this transfer would happen now, but the general consensus was that the unlikelihood of the transfer made it difficult. It all seemed too risky & our fearful approach seemed to have come to fruition. Speculation had intensified that Fabinho would join Atletico & an Instagram post from his wife confirmed she was in Madrid. However, she came out to deny her trip to be transfer related & that she was simply visiting family, having met Fabinho during his small spell at Real Madrid some years ago.
The defensive midfielder merry-go-round was in full swing, with Liverpool originally plumping for Jorginho, Man City pursuing Fred of Shakhtar Donetsk & Man Utd very keen on Fabinho. It then seemed that City were the favourites to sign Jorginho, which led Paul Joyce to confirm that Klopp still want’s a holding midfielder other than the Napoli man. With Man City now forgetting about Fred, their Manchester counterparts had reportedly switched their attentions to Fred. It was horribly obvious to us that Fred was a plan B & Man Utd had lost out on Fabinho, yet we still couldn’t prove without doubt that he was due to sign for Liverpool instead.
The Transfer Details
Then it came, in the evening of the 28th of May, we had confirmation within hours that Michael Edwards had pulled off a massive transfer coup. Fabinho will join the club on the 1st July on a 5 year-long-deal. The fee is reportedly €50M + €5M (£43.52M + £4.35M). The relatively low price has been explained extremely well by Fabien Pigalle, a regional journalist in the south of France for Nice Matin confirming that;
– Monaco had a debt to him, the club honoured this & listened to what the player wanted
– His last season wasn’t as impressive as the previous
– The club wants to build its squad for the next season quickly & want to get rid of anyone who will leave quickly. (It seems we’re seeing a similar approach taken with Thomas Lemar)
Trois choses :
– le club devait écouter les envies du joueur.
– sa saison pas aussi bonne que l'an dernier.
– volonté de "construire" rapidement le groupe pour la saison d'après.
— Fabien Pigalle (@FabPigalle) May 28, 2018
So there we have it, a story we probably should’ve written a long time ago. Nevertheless, to see fans praise Liverpool’s recruitment staff in getting this deal over the line with as little attention as possible is extremely satisfying. Perhaps if we had told people about the possible transfer, that kind of positivity wouldn’t have been around now, despite the fact nothing we heard was leaked from within Liverpool. Either way, having watched the player extensively over the last few years, we’re sure all of the hype over this transfer will live up to expectation. Let’s all enjoy Fabinho in our famous Red kit.