Former World Cup winner labels potential Fabinho move ‘stupid’ amid Saudi Arabia links

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The Brazilian midfielder could be about to depart Merseyside.

Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has slammed Fabinho’s proposed move to Al-Ittihad as the Liverpool midfielder is the latest player set to join the Saudi Pro League.

The 29-year-old midfielder has been left out of Jurgen Klopp’s pre-season tour of Germany amid a £40m bid from the Saudi club. If he departs, he will join a whole host of top-class footballers who used to ply their trades in Europe’s best leagues, including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante.

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Whilst the Brazilian did struggle last season and was criticised at times for his poor form, he did manage to regain his footing in the last two months of the season. Still only 29, he has been a key figure in Klopp’s side since joining in 2018 and with three years left on his current deal and with 49 appearances for the Reds last season it has proven an unexpected development.

Leboeuf has questioned the player’s intentions and he didn’t hold back when discussing the potential move, claiming that the Brazilian still has plenty of years at the top level.

“I understand, if you are over 30 or you are 32 or 33, you are Jordan Henderson or you are some others like Ronaldo and Koulibaly, then going there it’s only fair if you want to get some money and put your family safe,” the 1998 France World Cup winner told ESPN.

“If I see players below 30, sorry, but I would say it’s stupid because they have some years to give to the best leagues in the world and they shouldn’t go there.

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“I want to say that I am sad. I remember when he was at the top. He was one of the main players. Liverpool became so successful because it’s due to players like him, who came to the Premier League and showed their talent. Fabinho was one of them.

“When he was in the middle of the park with Henderson together. They were absolutely fantastic. Perhaps two of the best defensive midfielders in the world.”

Potential replacements could include the likes of Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips, Southampton’s Romeo Lavia or Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat. Or the club could look to rival West Ham in their pursuit of the Premier League’s statistically-best tackler in the league in Joao Palhinha - who Klopp is reportedly a fan of.

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