AS Monaco midfielder Fabinho is reportedly on Manchester United’s radar and came close to joining the club last summer. Here’s why we believe he’s an ideal addition at Old Trafford.
The coming summer transfer window will be an extremely crucial one for Manchester United. After having tasted success in Jose Mourinho’s debut campaign in 2016/17, the Red Devils were expected to take a step further and challenge for the Premier League title in the ongoing season.
However, they were blown away very early in the title race by a belligerent Manchester City side and the defeat at the hands of Sevilla in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League will have left a bitter taste as well.
While the club are still in the running for the FA Cup and are set to finish runners-up in the Premier League, Mourinho and United will know that they need to step it up a notch in the next season to try and knock their noisy neighbours off their perch. And to that end, the transfer window will play an important role, if the 20-time English champions are to catch up with Pep Guardiola’s City.
During his time at the club, Mourinho has spent well over £300 million and has strengthened the squad with players like Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez, to name a few. However, there remain a few chinks in the armour that the Portuguese needs to address in the summer heading into the 2018-19 campaign, the chief of them being the central midfield position.
Manchester United are set to have a dearth of options in the centre of the park with club captain Michael Carrick set to hang up his boots at the end of the season and take up a coaching role while Belgian international Marouane Fellaini is also poised to leave when his contract expires, having already turned down multiple new deals from the Premier League giants.
That leaves the Red Devils with just Pogba, Matic and Ander Herrera as the central midfield options in the squad. While Matic has been excellent in his debut campaign, Pogba still seems a pale shadow of his past self at Juventus and Herrera has endured an injury-ridden campaign, making the signing of a new midfielder paramount for United.
The club have been linked with every possible name in recent months, ranging from Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. However, one player that Manchester United could benefit most from signing, in my opinion, would be AS Monaco star Fabinho.
The 24-year old Brazilian international was United’s chief transfer target last summer, but a move failed to materialise after the 2016-17 French champions refused to let him go, having already lost a number of key players like Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and others.
Since then, United’s interest in the player too has seemed to cooled off, but recent reports have claimed that the player still harbours hopes of moving to the Old Trafford and the Mancunian outfit should definitely rekindle their interest in the Brazilian.
Fabinho was one of the stars for Monaco as they lifted the Ligue 1 title in the 2016-17 campaign, with his assured presence in the middle of the park laying the perfect platform for the more attack-minded players of the Principality outfit to thrive.
But, Monaco haven’t been able to hit the same heights as that of last season. The club are currently second on the Ligue 1 table, four points above Lyon in third, with rivals Paris Saint-Germain having already clinched the title. The Brazilian international though, has continued to make a difference for the club with his performances.
So far in the 2017-18 season, Fabinho has taken the field on 42 occasions across all competitions, scoring seven goals in the process and notching up 3 assists as well.
In his 30 appearances in the French top-flight, the 24-year old has created a total of 30 chances for his teammates, highlighting the effect that he can have on the proceedings going forward, despite sitting deep in the middle. Fabinho, this term, has played a total of 1681 passes in the league – which is the fourth highest tally in Ligue 1 for a midfielder, at an excellent success rate of 87%.
Fabinho’s tally of 226 successful duels (a combination of tackles, aerial battles and take-ons won) is the second best in the French top-flight for a midfielder, with only Rennes mainstay Benjamin Andre (290) being more effective. And his return of 113 defensive actions, at an average of 4 every game is something that indicates his ability as a shield in front of the backline.
Numbers can be misleading at times, but Fabinho, for the second season running, has come up with the goods in the middle of the park for Monaco.
Defensively solid and reliable, with an excellent range of distribution, the keen eye to thread a ball and split defences open and a source of goals from midfield, the 24-year old is pretty much a complete package. And it is this completeness and the all-round nature of his game that would make him the ideal successor to take over from the retiring Carrick.
What’s more, the Brazilian can easily slot in at right-back and bring all these qualities into play as well. With Antonio Valencia not performing consistently of late, a new right-back is very much on Mourinho’s shopping list and having Fabinho would proverbially kill two birds with one stone.
The 24-year old is understood to be still keen on securing a move away to the Old Trafford after last summer’s failure and the Red Devils, too, could definitely use a player of his ilk as they look to put up a stronger fight against their neighbours in the seasons to come.
Still 24 years of age, Fabinho has his best years in front of him and could prove to be a great investment for the 20-time English champions, Manchester United in the long run.
* Stats courtesy: Squawka.com