Jurgen Klopp played the pivotal role in enabling Liverpool to beat a host of Champions League rivals to the signature of Brazil international Fabinho.
During the last 18 months, Internazionale, Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain have all been involved in discussions to extract the versatile midfielder from AS Monaco.
That Liverpool secured Fabinho to a five-year contract after agreeing an initial €50million transfer fee with Monaco on Monday has been attributed to Klopp’s ability to sell his Anfield project to the Brazilian. According to a close friend of Fabinho’s, Liverpool started the recruitment process several months ago.
READ MORE: Liverpool confirm Fabinho signing
“Klopp convinced Fabinho to join Liverpool,” the source told Yahoo Sport. “They met and the boy was very happy with what the manager told him. He said ‘I like Klopp’, and asked that everything be stopped with other clubs.”
The deal will significantly strengthen Klopp’s midfield, delivering a significant upgrade on Emre Can, who has decided to leave Anfield under freedom on contract to join Juventus.
Fabinho – a scorer of 29 goals in his last three seasons at Monaco – was pivotal to the principality club’s unexpected 2016-17 French title success and run to the semi-final of the Champions League, operating, as a screen to the defence, a box-to-box midfielder, or at right back.
Last summer PSG attempted to structure a joint deal with Monaco in which they would take both Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho from their domestic rivals with their then-coach Unai Emery intending to reshape his midfield around the 1m88 South American.
The double transfer was complicated by pressure placed upon the Qatar-owned club to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, at the same time as Leonardo Jardim petitioned his club to retain an individual the Monaco coach considered fundamental to his tactical plans; and ultimately fell through on deadline day.
“I am really excited about this move,” Fabinho said after completing a medical in Liverpool on Monday. “This is something that I always wanted – this is a giant of a team. The infrastructures of the club look exceptional. A football club of this size coming after my services, I didn’t have to think that much about coming over.
“I will try to create my own history at this football club. Hopefully, on a personal level, I’m able to win titles with this club. I will try to grow and learn and improve myself, and to be part of the club’s history.”
Completing Fabinho’s transfer within 48 hours of losing Saturday’s Champions League Final to Real Madrid forms the first part of a strategy intended to improve Klopp’s options in all areas of his squad. Liverpool have had a deal in place to bring Naby Keita from RB Leipzig for a fee of €70m since last year and are also working on improving at goalkeeper and in attack.
“We have signed a fantastic player, but someone who is an equally fantastic person I think,” Klopp said. “His reputation as a character in the dressing room and his attitude in training has come through from everyone we speak to.
“He has a lovely family also – adding a person like this to our dressing room only makes us even stronger. What we have – in terms of our environment at Melwood and in the team – means anyone coming in must be of that build. They must be the highest quality person and player.
“He has ability and mentality to play at the highest level in a number of positions. He can play ‘6’, ‘8’ and ‘2’. This is cool. He is tactically very strong and football smart. I think he improves our squad and there aren’t that many players you can say that about in this moment, because the quality we have already is so high.
“I like that he is young yet experienced also, with a high number of games at a club that compete to win. Also, international caps for Brazil tells you something about him. This signing gives us new opportunities and for that I am excited.”