Football

Fabinho urges Fekir to join him at Liverpool

Reds new boy says he is 'really excited' to join a 'giant of a team'

Liverpool's new signing Fabinho has wasted no time in helping the club's recruitment drive by urging his French Ligue 1 counterpart Nabil Fekir to join him at Anfield.

British newspapers reported that Liverpool will pay Monaco about £40 million (S$71.4 million) for the 24-year-old utility player, who will move to Anfield on July 1.

Liverpool, who finished fourth in the English Premier League last season and reached the Champions League final, have also signed Guinea international Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.

Germany midfielder Emre Can is set to leave Anfield at the end of his contract and been strongly linked with a move to Italian champions Juventus.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told the club's website: "(Fabinho) has ability and mentality to play at the highest level in a number of positions. He can play (as a No.) 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."

Fabinho, who began his career as a right-back but now features more regularly in midfield, added he was "really excited" about joining a "giant of a team".

The Liverpool new boy has four caps for Brazil but missed out on a place in the Selecao's World Cup squad.

In Ligue 1, it is not only this season that he has demonstrated things. For a few years he has shown his quality. If he comes, it will be good too. New Liverpool signing Fabinho on Reds target Nabil Fekir

He told French broadcaster RMC Sport that he is keen for reported Liverpool target and Lyon star Fekir to play alongside him in a Reds jersey, saying: "He is a very good player, of international level.

"In Ligue 1, it is not only this season that he has demonstrated things. For a few years he has shown his quality. If he comes, it will be good too."

When told about Fabinho's comments, Fekir, who scored 23 goals for Lyon this season, said: "If Fabinho will be my future teammate?

"I will discuss my future after the World Cup, not before.

"If I will sign somewhere before the World Cup? Honestly, I don't know."

NO BID

Despite the British press suggesting Liverpool are in pole position to sign Lyon's £61m-rated captain, the club's president Jean-Michel Aulas insists he has not received a bid from the English side.

He told French newspaper L'Equipe: "We simply know that teams are interested. His agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes, has told us so.

"There have been no discussions either with Nabil or with other clubs, so it's very premature. He's also hesitating about whether he wants to play in the Champions League with Lyon."

Another player heavily linked with the Reds is Brazil No. 1 Alisson.

British media have reported that the Reds are readying a world record bid for a goalkeeper, particularly after Loris Karius' horror display in the Champions League final last week.

Alisson's national team deputy Ederson holds the distinction of being the world's most expensive goalkeeper after his £34.7-million move to EPL champions Manchester City last season.

However, AS Roma sporting director Monchi, who last week said Alisson will leave the Italian capital only if Monchi came out of retirement and donned his goalkeeper's gloves again, continued to insist the Brazilian is going nowhere.

He said: "In order for a player to leave, there has to be three elements in place: an offer, a yes from the club and from the player.

"As of today, we have nothing of the sort."

Football