Liverpool midfielder Fabinho is reportedly on the verge of agreeing a move to Real Madrid, according to a journalist from Colombia.
Jose Luis Vergara tweeted that the two clubs had come to an agreement on the move and that it would be finalised in the current transfer window.
According to Vergara [via Sport Witness], the move will be made official once Liverpool find a replacement for the Brazil international, with Real Madrid set to pay €65million (£60m) up front and a possible €10m (£9.23m) more in bonuses in a five-year deal that would see Fabinho earn €7.5m (£6.92m) a year.
The 25-year-old featured in 41 of Liverpool’s 53 matches last season, starting 21 Premier League games and seven Champions League matches.
He had a passing success rate of 85.3% and averaged 57.5 passes per game, 0.6 of which were key passes. Speaking on Sky Sports [via The Mirror] after the 3-1 win over Manchester United last season, Gary Neville said: “What I liked about him was sometimes you see a defensive midfield player and they play horizontally, the shuffle across horizontally, they pass horizontally. He actually moved up the pitch.”
He ended the campaign with a goal and two assists from defensive midfield, a position that can also be played by Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson at Anfield.
Neither of those are as effective as Fabinho in breaking up play. Keita averaged 1.5 tackles and 0.5 interceptions per game last season, with Henderson recording match averages of 1.4 tackles and 0.9 interceptions.
Jurgen Klopp has experimented with Adam Lallana in a defensive midfield role in pre-season. The 31-year-old has initially taken well to his new role, with The Independent‘s Mark Critchley describing his performance against Lyon last week as “combative and controlling“.
Fabinho has shown himself to be a solid enforcer in his first season at Anfield, as his tackling ratio illustrates, while he can also get the ball into advanced positions. Plus, he is the only out-and-out defensive midfielder in Liverpool’s first team squad.
However, with Keita, Henderson and now Lallana all capable of playing that role for the Reds, there are bodies who could step into the ‘number six’ position straight away if Fabinho leaves.
While he has impressed for Liverpool thus far, £60m could be difficult for the European champions to turn down if Real Madrid have indeed lodged an official, concrete offer for that amount.
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