Indeed, there are many contributing factors to the poor form the Reds have displayed over their first 14 league outings so far but one of the key concerns is the lack of reinvestment into the team, particularly midfield.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are both well into their 30s and are picking up knocks regularly this season.
Not only that, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all entering the last six months of their contracts meaning that the Merseysiders could fall short in the summer if they don’t start acquiring the services of elite talent in the centre of the pitch.
Speaking on The Redmen TV YouTube channel, Jones claimed:
“I think you would need to lose Fabinho if he [Declan Rice] came. He’s going to be anywhere upwards of £70 million.”
Reports have stated that any fee could actually be in the region of a whopping £150m but it’s hard to suggest he wouldn’t be worth such a price.
Fabinho hasn’t had the best start to the season but he certainly isn’t the only midfielder who has been inconsistent this season and it would be a big risk to sell the Brazilian without certainty that a player can come in and be as effective as he has been in the past.
When you compare the £180k-per-week ace with Rice over this season the West Ham ace has outperformed Fabinho in many attributes, namely in a defensive capacity.
Rice is more assured in possession of the ball, registering a higher pass completion rate (89.1% v 87.9%), while he makes more tackles and interceptions combined (60 v 41), tackles a larger portion of dribblers (75% v 39.1%) and wins more aerial duels (60% v 50%).
It is no secret that FSG has a strict structure when it comes to their recruitment strategy and prefers to sell players before they reinvest in new signings and with Fabinho the only midfielder left who isn’t out of contract and not in the latter stages of his career, he would likely be the most valuable asset to sell.
There is no doubt that the England star – who reporter Tommy Wathen claimed is “unreal” and Bianca Westwood suggested is a “superstar” – would provide Liverpool with not only the youthful energy that the side is in desperate need of but also a significant amount of Premier League experience which would be hugely advantageous should he been signed.
With that being said, the idea of selling Fabinho isn’t the worst but it could be risky if Liverpool don’t execute their recruitment perfectly by potentially signing Rice and building a new midfield around him.