Premier League • England

Fabinho: Extraordinary reason Liverpool exit could collapse revealed as Al Ittihad chief jets in to save deal

Fabinho reacting for Liverpool

Fabinho has been a big player for Liverpool since 2018 switch

The president of Al Ittihad has arrived in the UK in an attempt to conclude negotiations with Liverpool for Fabinho – whose stance on accepting the Saudi offer could suddenly change for an unusual reason.

Fabinho is understood to have reached an agreement on personal terms with Al Ittihad about a move to Saudi Arabia. The focus has since been on what the transfer fee they would be paying to Liverpool would be.

Although they haven’t yet got a green light on that front, the saga has been advanced enough for Liverpool to leave Fabinho at home for their pre-season tour of Germany.

Meanwhile, the Reds continue to be linked with a range of possible replacements for Fabinho at the base of their midfield, such as Romeo Lavia from Southampton.

However, an update on Saturday suggested that Bayern Munich might make a late attempt to hijack the Fabinho transfer. And some fresh developments on Sunday have added an extra layer of complexity to the situation.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Al Ittihad’s president has flown in to London in an effort to resolve the final details of the deal with Liverpool.

Certain documents still need to be checked before the two clubs can sign off on the transaction. Talks have reached an advanced stage, but if Al Ittihad are to get their way of signing Fabinho next week, they will have to put the finishing touches to the business with Liverpool.

READ MORELiverpool distance themselves from long-term target as Premier League rivals make enquiry

Fabinho feelings about Saudi switch now in doubt

Remarkably, though, an issue could now have arisen on the player’s side of negotiations. As summarised by the Daily Express, Fabinho could back out of his agreement with Al Ittihad because of his dogs!

Dangerous and aggressive dogs such as Rottweilers and pit bulls are prohibited in Saudi Arabia – and Fabinho’s two French bulldogs may fall into one of the forbidden categories.

With that in mind, the Brazil international will be seeking further clarity before relocating. He still wants to embark on a new challenge with Al Ittihad – who have already signed N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema this summer and are managed by Nuno Espirito Santo – but the move is on standby for the time being.

Fabinho is one of two Liverpool midfielders currently in line to leave for the Saudi Professional League. Club captain Jordan Henderson is the subject of serious interest from Al Ettifaq, where he would be managed by Steven Gerrard.

Earlier in the summer, Liverpool got rid of other midfielders such as James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. They have reinforced the department by bringing in Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

Despite his decline in form last season, Fabinho would leave a major void in the Liverpool system due to the role he occupies. He has made 219 appearances for the club since joining them from Monaco in 2018.

The 29-year-old’s contract with Liverpool is still due to last until 2026. However, an exit now seems likely, as long as he can gain the clarity he is seeking about life in Saudi Arabia.