Arsenal boss Unai Emery has revealed he is a long-term admirer of Liverpool midfielder Fabinho and considered attempting to lure him to the Emirates Stadium prior to him signing for the Merseyside club.
The manager used the Brazilian as an example when commenting on the adaptation period foreign players often require when arriving in the Premier League. Although he was using Fabinho’s start to life at Anfield to defend the form of Nicolas Pepe, he didn’t hesitate to mention he himself was very much on the Gunners’ radar that summer.
The Spanish Coach told the media (via Evening Standard) on Wednesday: “For example, in France I loved a lot Fabinho. He was in Monaco and I wanted to sign him for Paris Saint-Germain.”
“When I arrived here, also his name was on the table to achieve to sign him, but he signed for Liverpool.
“The first six months he didn’t play, it was adaptation, but now he is amazing and I want the same with Ceballos, with Pepe.”
TIF Tactics – Did Arsenal miss a trick allowing Fabinho to join Liverpool?
Fabinho has made 37 appearances in the Premier League for Liverpool and despite a slow start is now considered key to Klopp’s midfield. The Brazil international was part of Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco side that stunned Europe by reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 2016/17 campaign and went one better with Liverpool last season having lifted the coveted trophy.
The South American is considered to be strong in the air as well as having a good passing range. Finding the balance in the centre of the park has been problematic for Emery and this recent comment has fuelled further speculation regarding whether or not the Spaniard actually wanted to sign Lucas Torreira in the first place.
Reports in the summer emerged suggesting the manager would have preferred to have signed Steven Nzonzi ahead of the Uruguayan and his latest comments will add to the speculation around the 23-year-old’s future.
How do Fabinho and Torreira compare this season?
The Brazilian has featured in all nine of Liverpool’s Premier League fixtures so far with eight starts and one substitute appearance to his name (WhoScored). Torreira has featured seven times but has only been named in the starting lineup twice. The Uruguayan has had most of his game time in the Europa League and Domestic Cup competitions which would suggest he’s fallen out of favour at the Emirates Stadium.
Fabinho has one assist to his name and a passing success rate of 86.8% in comparison to the Gunners’ South American who has managed to score this season despite playing 534 minutes less. However, his pass completion rate of 80.9% is significantly lower and far from ideal for a player in his position.
In terms of their physical stature, these are two very different players but in terms of where they’re most effective, you could argue both are best suited to sitting at the base of a midfield and offering protection to the back four.
Emery will have to make do with what he already has, at least until January. But it seems Arsene Wenger wasn’t the last Arsenal manager ruing the fact he missed out on certain transfer targets.