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28th May 2018

Liverpool to beat Manchester United to Monaco midfielder Fabinho

Melissa Reddy

Monaco’s Fabinho has been identified as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice target to anchor Liverpool’s midfield and the club are confident of tying up a transfer for €40 million, with a further €5m in potential add-ons.

The Anfield side, beaten in Saturday’s Champions League final with Real Madrid lifting their third European Cup on the spin, have been in positive negotiations with the Ligue 1 outfit over the 24-year-old long coveted by Manchester United.

A strong tackler and aerially dominant, the Brazilian is viewed as the perfect defensive screen for the Reds in the centre of the park while Emre Can is expected to complete a switch to Juventus as a free agent.

Sporting director Michael Edwards has worked quietly and tirelessly to progress an agreement as quickly as possible with the club determined not to stand still after an exhilarating continental campaign. An official announcement could be made within 24 hours.

Fabinho, who started off as a fullback and can also operate further forward in midfield, is an incisive passer with excellent positional sense and will rectify a core weaknesses in Liverpool’s squad.

They have assessed the Sao Paulo-born talent for well over a year and his signing will be the start of an aggressive summer for the Reds in the market.

Fabinho moved to Europe in 2012 from Fluminense’s reserve side to join Portuguese club Rio Ave, before swiftly shifting to Real Madrid Castilla on a season-long loan.

The destroyer made one appearance for their first-team before a temporary deal was struck with Monaco for two seasons, which turned permanent in 2015.

Fabinho, not included in Brazil’s World Cup squad, was instrumental to their title triumph in 2016-17 and their sensational run to the Champions League semi-finals in the same season.

He contributed eight goals and five assists across all competitions in the recently concluded campaign to complement his defensive duties, with the French outfit resigned to losing him to the Premier League.