Premier League • England

Liverpool icon tells Jurgen Klopp £40m transfer is a must with star’s ‘legs having gone’

Jurgen Klopp, October 2022

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during a Premier League game at Anfield

Liverpool have been told they simply have little choice but to accept the departure of Fabinho this summer with one Anfield old boy suggesting the player no longer has the legs to compete at the highest level.

The Brazilian has been a virtual ever-present for the Reds since a £39m move from Monaco in summer 2018. A big factor in their recent success, the 29-year-old has made 219 appearances during his five seasons at Anfield.

However, there were strong signs last season that Fabinho’s better days were behind him. And with Liverpool’s midfield, on occasions, being out-fought and out-thought, doubts have emerged over the Brazilian’s long-term future at Anfield.

Indeed, two defeats last season particularly stand out for Liverpool. A 2-1 home defeat by Leeds, who went on to be relegated, in October was painful enough. However, a 3-0 trouncing at Brighton in the January was equally as hurtful to Liverpool’s top-four hopes and Fabinho’s long-term prospects on Merseyside.

As a consequence, Klopp has cut a ruthless swath through the Liverpool midfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and James Milner were all allowed to walk at the end of their deals.

And while Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have since signed for a combined £95m, the Reds still hope to sign at least one more.

It also looks unlikely to be end of the departures at Anfield either. To that end, both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are both in talks over moves to Saudi Arabia.

Revealing the latest, Fabrizio Romano on Sunday revealed an agreement for Fabinho is ‘done’. That will see the Reds boosting their coffers to the tune of £40m if an agreement can be finalised.

READ MORE: Liverpool decide on £40m Jordan Henderson successor as £700,000 a week deal nears

Liverpool told time is right to sell Fabinho

Henderson’s suitors, Al Ettifaq, meanwhile, will this week decide whether to match Liverpool’s valuation of the 33-year-old England man.

The sale of Henderson, also to the Middle East, could yet see another £10m added to the Anfield transfer kitty.

Either way, Liverpool double winner Steve Nicol feels the sale of Fabinho is sadly a necessity.

He has questioned whether the 29-year-old star has the engine needed to compete with some of the game’s more energetic midfields.

Fabinho has not travelled with the Reds to a training camp in Germany; as such, it seems a move away now looks inevitable.

And with a deal worth £40m on the table, he has made it clear to ESPN why Liverpool are being left with no choice.

“Do you know, it’s funny. At the end of the season when we were talking about Liverpool’s midfield, and the thing I said was: ‘well, it’s interesting to figure out whether Liverpool – Klopp, in particular – but the coaching staff when they all get together and talk about the players, whether Fabinho had a bad spell or whether his legs might have gone’,” he said.

“And the fact they’re willing to listen to offers for him at this stage, with pre-season already started, tells you that I think the answer is they think his legs have probably gone. So that is what this tells me.

“And if they can get £40m for a guy who they obviously are not desperate to keep, it’s time to let him go. They [absolutely] take the money.”

Fabinho’s exit will free up Liverpool to sign a new No 6 as a replacement. Romeo Lavia is one player under consideration, though Southampton’s £50m asking price looks prohibitive.

As an alternative, Klopp could look to outbid Manchester United to a €30m-rated Serie A star instead.

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