After Liverpool agreed a £44m deal to sign AS Monaco midfielder Fabinho, Sky Sports reported that Arsenal failed in a last-ditch attempt to sign him. The 24-year-old had already chosen Liverpool as his next destination by the time the Gunners made an approach, but here are three more reasons why Arsenal’s attempt to sign Fabinho was fruitless.
If Arsenal have just £50m to spend this summer, they can’t afford to spend all that on one player. New manager Unai Emery has inherited a side in need of a major rebuild, but the lack of funds is forcing him to be thrifty in the transfer market. Arsenal wouldn’t blow the lot on one midfielder when they need a goalkeeper, right-back and centre-back at the bare minimum.
After Arsene Wenger spent over £100m on signing strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners are now having to curtail their spending and may need to sell one or two expendable first-team players in the process. Arsenal have a lot of positions that need strengthening and £50m won’t likely be enough to do it.
Let alone Arsenal not being able to afford Fabinho, why would the Brazilian opt for the Emirates over Anfield right now? The Gunners have finished outside of the Premier League top-four in each of the last two seasons, winning only one trophy in three years, all the while playing bland football.
Liverpool have finished in the Champions League spots in the last two seasons and are playing incredible counter-attacking football that has much easier on the eye. There’s a sense the Reds are on the brink of success, while Arsenal get further away each season.
Fabinho will join a functioning side where his role in midfield will be clear. Arsenal are still figuring themselves out currently and could endure a difficult transitional period post-Arsene Wenger.
Crucially, Arsenal were never really close to landing Fabinho’s signature. The Brazilian had been in talks with Liverpool for weeks before the deal was agreed, so he’d likely made up his mind some time ago without putting pen to paper.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery may be a big admirer of Fabinho, but his side have been left somewhat embarrassed as Liverpool were miles ahead in the race for his signature. The Gunners failing in a last-ditch bid asks many questions of their recruitment staff too.
Was Fabinho always a summer target? How much were Arsenal willing to spend? Why do they leave it so late to make an approach? Is signing a central midfielder on the summer agenda? Who would make way in the side if Fabinho or another was brought in?
Arsenal do need reinforcements in midfield, but to make such a late attempt to sign a player who was in talks with Liverpool for weeks is such poor decision-making. Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat and Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi are the two men in charge of bringing players to the Emirates, but they’ve been made to look foolish here.