Liverpool in limbo as Fabinho's £40m Saudi move hits snag

Fabinho at Liverpool pre-season training - Liverpool in limbo as Fabinho's £40m Saudi move hits snag

Liverpool will need to buy a new defensive midfielder should Fabinho depart – Getty Images/Andrew Powell

Liverpool must wait for the £40 million proceeds of selling Fabinho because of a hitch in the Brazilian’s proposed transfer to Saudi club Al-Ittihad.

A deal between the clubs was struck for the 29-year-old eleven days ago, but having failed to agree all the terms of the switch Fabinho will return to training with Jurgen Klopp’s side on Wednesday.

Attempts to resolve the delay are currently with Fabinho and his representatives and a determination to reach an agreement remains. From Liverpool’s perspective, the move can proceed.

Liverpool are readying themselves to use the cash from the sale – and the £12 million for captain Jordan Henderson’s pending switch to Al-Ettifaq – to sign a replacement number six.

However, manager Jurgen Klopp is understood to be relaxed about welcoming Fabinho back into the fold for the coming season if he decides to reject the Saudi transfer. Liverpool were not proactively seeking to sell Fabinho prior to the Saudi bid. His absence from the pre-season training camp in Germany – from which Liverpool have now returned – was mutually agreed.

If the Saudi move stalls any longer, Fabinho could join his team-mates in the Far East tour. However, at this stage the transfer is on hold rather than dead.

Henderson’s move has also progressed at glacial pace since he was given permission to rejoin former team-mate Steven Gerrard. Given the circumstances surrounding the move, Henderson is naturally seeking reassurances everything is as it needs to be before he makes a decision which is bound to have repercussions for his Anfield legacy.

If Fabinho stays, it will undoubtedly have some impact on the incomings. Aside from reducing the transfer kitty available, it would lessen Klopp’s urgent need to sign an experienced anchorman.

If Fabinho and Henderson still go, it is essential that Klopp signs at least one midfielder before the end of August. Many will argue he needs two, although it is conceivable Trent Alexander-Arnold will be remodelled further in the months ahead, his days as an orthodox right back seemingly over. Alexander-Arnold has started both Liverpool’s pre-season games in a deep midfield role.

Southampton’s teenager Romeo Lavia has been on Liverpool’s radar all summer, but the £50 million asking price is considered too high.

Amid all the focus on midfield, Liverpool’s additional need for a centre-back to support or even challenge the favoured pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate has gone under the radar.

Joel Matip is heading into the final year of his Anfield contract and Joe Gomez desperately needs to regain the form that earned him international honours.

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