What’s the story
The Express and Sun are carrying reports that Manchester United have already agreed on a £39.7m fee for Monaco's midfield mainstay Fabinho. Emanuele Giulanelli is, in fact, reporting that the deal has already been done for a price of 45 million euros and that it’ll be made official in two weeks, the delay coming because the Brazilian is on holiday. The reporter has had mixed results with transfer predictions in the past, although it has to be noted that it was he who broke the news of Skhodran Mustafi signing for Arsenal last year
In case you didn’t know
The 23-year-old was pivotal in Monaco’s charge to Ligue 1 glory – where they beat out clear favourites PSG – and the unlikely run to the UEFA Champions League semifinals that captured the football world's imagination. He started off at right-back in the beginning of the season but had converted to an all-action central midfielder by the business end of the whole shebang.
The Brazilian rose through the Paulinia and Fluminense youth systems before moving to Real Madrid (where he spent the duration on loan to their B side Castilla – he had only appearance for the senior side when he played 14 minutes vs Malaga). Monaco signed him on a loan in 2013 before the deal was made permanent in 2015. A set-piece specialist, he is often the clubs designated penalty-kick taker (in case Radamel Falcao isn’t around, that is) and he has a mean delivery on him.
The heart of the matter
Fabinho had earlier stated vague intentions of one day turning out for United: “My objective is to get to a club with the dimension of Manchester United. I have no clue if one day I'll be a United player, but I'll keep working so it stops being a rumour and becomes reality."
That rumour might actually be becoming a reality. His versatility, comfort on the ball and undoubted ability to play at right-back or central midfielder with equal ease will only endear him to Jose Mourinho. This could well turn out to be a key component of the United plan.
Fabinho’s strength and composure has a certain beauty to it:
A midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, and Fabinho is certainly a mouth-watering prospect for United fans.
Jose Mourinho’s team would certainly be strengthened by the addition of Fabinho, there is next to no doubt about that. United have lacked a solidity in the centre of midfield that Fabinho will readily address, while not compromising on the ball-playing ability of the entire team (like what happens when Marouane Fellaini plays central midfield)
The thing that saddens me about this transfer window, though, is the state of Monaco. Sure, I understand it’s inevitable, and that Monaco could well use the money to re-build and re-invest, but the scavenger-ish nature of the big Premier League and La Liga clubs circling around the principality club just fills me up with a disgust I just can’t get over. But then, that's business. That's football.Published 12 Jun 2017, 17:33 IST