LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool have announced a deal to sign Brazilian midfielder Fabinho from Monaco.
The clubs agreed a transfer fee worth up to €50 million (£44m), a source told ESPN FC. The provisions of the deal should see Liverpool pay a guaranteed fee of €45m, with a maximum of €5m in further add-ons.
Fabinho is Liverpool’s first-choice defensive-midfield transfer target and will become the club’s first signing of the summer. He agreed a “long-term contract” after having a medical and will formally complete his move on July 1.
Liverpool see the 24-year-old as a direct replacement for Emre Can, who is expected to sign for Juventus on a free transfer this summer upon the expiration of his Anfield contract.
Fabinho, capped four times by Brazil but not part of their World Cup squad, has made 232 appearances for Monaco over five seasons, scoring 31 times mainly from his anchoring midfield position and helping them win the Ligue 1 title a year ago.
“I am really excited about this move,” Fabinho told Liverpool’s website. “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.”
Fabinho led Monaco by registering 3,200 touches in all competitions this past season. He also registered 83 tackles, 30 more than any other player on his club, who finished second behind Paris Saint-Germain.
Welcome to #LFC, Fabinho. 🙌https://t.co/Xd7ylCfnqJ pic.twitter.com/nYbV243DY5
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 28, 2018
After starting his career with Fluminense, Fabinho moved to Europe in 2012 with Portuguese club Rio Ave, who loaned him to Real Madrid, and the teenager made one substitute appearance for their first team.
He moved to Monaco on an initial loan at the start of the 2013-14 season and scored 23 league goals over five seasons, including seven in the campaign just completed.
“I first of all want to salute a player who, despite his young age, established himself both on and off the pitch thanks to his outstanding technical and human qualities,” Monaco CEO Vadim Vasilyev said in a statement.
“He is leaving for one of the world’s highest profile clubs, five years after tiptoeing into Monaco. I am proud of his development, which confirms once again all AS Monaco’s expertise when it comes to bringing through the young talents of world football.”
In the wake of Saturday’s Champions League final defeat, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would see his midfield options boosted by the arrival of the Brazilian and Naby Keita, who will officially become a Liverpool player on July 1.
“We have signed a fantastic player, but someone who is an equally fantastic person I think,” the German said of Fabinho. “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.”
Liverpool may recruit again from France’s Ligue 1 again this transfer window, with a source saying that Lyon captain Nabil Fekir is another player on the Merseyside club’s radar.
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.