Arsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted he tried to sign Fabinho before the midfielder joined Liverpool.
Emery replaced Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager in the summer of 2018, tasked with leading the Gunners into a new era. But things haven’t gone exactly to plan, with Emery failing to finish in the top four during his debut campaign.
How close was Fabinho to joining Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Fabinho joined Liverpool in 2018, signing from Monaco.
- The Brazilian overcame a slow start to become a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield.
- Emery admits he tried to sign the midfielder while in charge of PSG.
- He also tried to bring Fabinho to the Emirates upon his arrival at Arsenal.
- Fabinho has made 21 tackles in the Premier League this season, more than any other Liverpool player.
This summer, Arsenal brought in David Luiz, Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos with the hopes of turning their fortunes around but the latter two have been slow to adapt to life in the Premier League.
In his defence of the duo, Emery referenced the performances of Fabinho, who overcame a slow start at Liverpool last season to be known as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and key to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Emery also admitted he tried to sign Fabinho while in charge of Paris Saint-Germain and again upon his arrival at the Emirates, adding the Brazilian to a long list of players Arsenal missed out on.
“We spent money with Pepe and he needs time to adapt to the Premier League,” he told reporters.
“For example, in France, I loved Fabinho a lot. He was in Monaco and I wanted to sign [him] for PSG. When I arrived here, also his name was on the table to achieve to sign him, but he signed for Liverpool.
“The first six months he didn’t play, it was adaptation. But now he is amazing and I want the same with [Dani] Ceballos, with Pepe.
“We need patience, but Pepe is improving, but on Monday, the key to win was with him. If he scores the first goal, it’s different.
“But it’s one process and I believe in him and I know we need time and patience. The supporters have patience, some more than others.
“But I know we are convinced. We are going to fight to convince them and tomorrow to show another 90 minutes at the Emirates and then on Sunday.”
Fabinho has started eight of Liverpool’s nine Premier League games this season, providing defensive cover at the base of a three-man midfield as Klopp’s men remain top of the table and unbeaten. The Brazilian has made 21 tackles so far, more than any other Liverpool player in the Premier League.
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Arsenal’s bad luck in the transfer market
Fabinho is just the latest on a long list of players Arsenal tried to sign before eventually moving elsewhere, if former manager Wenger is to be believed.
The Frenchman has never been afraid to talk about Arsenal’s transfer failures, recently adding Jadon Sancho to the list, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, as some of the many stars who he tried to bring to north London.
“I wanted to take him from Man City when he didn’t get the games,” he said. “I tried to lure him because he’s from London. I tried to get him to Arsenal.
“He’s one of the best players of his generation. He can dribble, he has the arrogance.”