Manchester United have long been linked with 22-year-old Monaco defender Fabinho, but their Premier League rivals Chelsea have now joined the race to sign the Brazilian dubbed as the next Dani Alves.
Chelsea are growing increasingly desperate to sign a defender and have seen enormous bids for some of Europe’s brightest young prospects turned down. The latest development on that front is that Chelsea have joined Manchester United in the race for Fabinho, with AS Monaco demanding a transfer fee of €30 million, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.
The story, published in the print version of the paper, has been picked up by a number of the major English media outlets, including the Telegraph. However L’Equipe also conducted an interview with Fabinho, where the Brazilian stated that he is more likely to stay at Monaco.
“With the Champions League, it’s not bad staying at Monaco,” he told L’Equipe this past weekend, according to Sky Sports. “I’m not certain of staying, but at the same time, there’s more of a chance of me staying than leaving.”
Chelsea are looking to find a back-up or possible replacement for their ageing right-back Branislav Ivanovic. The 32-year-old Serbian made some high profile errors last season and has been widely criticized for being slow off the mark. Fabinho would be a great addition in this regard, as he has put in solid performances at right-back for Monaco this past season.
The central defence is also in a bad state, with 35-year-old John Terry still the Blues’ defensive mainstay along with Gary Cahill. Chelsea also have the likes of Kurt Zouma, who impressed last season before suffering a long-term injury, and American Matt Miazga, who hasn’t had a prolonged spell in the first team yet.
The Blues’ top defensive target this summer was Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, but I Partenopei have no intention of letting him leave. With their top transfer target off the market, the club have reportedly made a series of bids for a number of other top defenders across Europe, as Italian manager Antonio Conte looks to re-haul the stuttering Chelsea back four.
AC Milan recently turned down a €35 million bid by Chelsea for their centre-back Alessio Romagnoli. The reported pursuit of Fabinho could thus be the last chance that the Blues have of signing a defender before the transfer window closes.