Fabinho close to concluding Al-Ittihad move – with just one hurdle remaining

Daryl Finch
11 months ago

Fabinho's five-year stay at Liverpool looks to be drawing to a close, with reports suggesting that the Brazilian is now very near to completing a move to Al-Ittihad.

Brazilian publication ge has reported that the 29-year-old has already agreed personal terms with Saudi Arabian side, and the club is just waiting for the release of money by the Saudi government to complete the £40m transfer.

According to Al-Ittihad news account Ittimania, Fabinho was due to undergo a medical on Tuesday. Assuming he passed with flying colours, this would suggest an official announcement is imminent.

The defensive midfielder, who has been a mainstay in Jürgen Klopp's side since signing from French side Monaco in 2018, didn't join his teammates on the club's pre-season trip to Germany, fuelling speculation that the Reds would be cashing in on a player whose form dropped off a cliff in the 2022/23 season.

This culminated in Fabinho losing his starting spot with the Brazil national team for the World Cup finals and his complete omission from the last two squads picked by interim coach Ramon Menezes.

Despite being far from the level shown during Liverpool's successful 2018/19 Champions League and 2019/20 Premier League campaigns, Fabinho nonetheless made 49 appearances last campaign in all competitions, 40 of which were as a starter.

Having also allowed James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave — and a move to Al-Ettifaq still on the cards for Jordan Henderson — Fabinho's departure will doubtless force Liverpool back into the market for a central midfielder, albeit with a more defensive profile.

READ MORE: Which midfielders should Liverpool sign to complete the rebuild?

Southampton's Roméo Lavia has been heavily linked, as have the likes of Benfica's Florentino Luís, Bayern Munich duo Ryan Gravenberch and Leon Goretzka, and — most recently — Crystal Palace's Cheick Doucouré.

A link-up with Benzema and Kanté

Should Fabinho's move go ahead as planned, he will be joining the likes of Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema and former Chelsea and Leicester man N'Golo Kanté at the reigning Saudi champions.

Coached by former Wolves and Tottenham man Nuno Espírito Santo, there is a strong Portuguese-speaking contingent at Al-Ittihad that with doubtless make the transition to the Saudi Pro League easier for Fabinho.

Jota also moved there from Celtic earlier this window, while there are three other Brazilians in the squad: striker Romarinho, formerly of Corinthians; goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe, once of Grêmio player; and midfielder Igor Coronado who, in fact, came through the Milton Keynes Dons academy.

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