Fabinho backed as “very smart” replacement for Emre Can

With Emre Can expected to leave Liverpool on the expiry of his contract this summer, Fabinho has been backed as an ideal replacement for the German.

Can is likely to have played his last game for the club, with a seven-minute cameo in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid a disappointing end to a four-year spell at the club.

The midfielder is expected to join Juventus on a five-year contract worth around £85,000 a week when his current terms expire on July 1.

But, fortunately, the Reds have already moved to fill the void, announcing an initial £39 million deal to sign Fabinho from Monaco on Monday night.

Fabinho will arrive on the same day that Can departs, and with Jurgen Klopp praising how he “can play ‘6’, ‘8’ and ‘2’,” the similarities between the two are clear.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live shortly before Fabinho‘s move to Merseyside was confirmed, journalist James Horncastle described the decision as “very smart”:

“It will be a great signing.

Fabinho was linked with a move away, and thought he was going to get a move, last summer on the back of winning the league with Monaco and reaching a Champions League semi-final.

“I think he was told he had to stay, and unlike some of the other players he accepted that and has had a very good season.

“He would be a very good replacement for Emre Can, who is expected to leave.

“The comparison there is quite interesting because there is a player who is versatile, can play in midfield, can play as a full-back.

“So you gain two, three players for one in Fabinho so I think it’s a very smart move.”

KIEV, UKRAINE - Saturday, May 26, 2018: Liverpool's Andy Robertson and Emre Can look dejected after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at the NSC Olimpiyskiy. Real Madrid won 3-1. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Can picked up his second Champions League runner-up medal in Kyiv on Saturday, but is seemingly convinced his future lies away from Anfield.

Though he has become a divisive figure among supporters since it emerged that he was likely to leave, losing the Germany international is a bitter blow to Klopp’s side.

But signing Fabinho, as Horncastle attests, is an ideal solution, and as one that had barely been mentioned as a possibility prior to Monday is a hugely commendable move.

Klopp is set to remould his midfield next season, with both Fabinho and Naby Keita almost guaranteed starters.

Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also options, along with youngsters such as Marko Grujic, Ben Woodburn and Curtis Jones.

This flexibility will be crucial as Liverpool target another successful campaign in the Champions League and a title challenge in the Premier League next season.

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