Neil Jones shares what former coach of potential ‘Fabinho replacement’ told him about the player

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Neil Jones has shared what he was told about Florentino Luis by one of the player’s former coaches.

The Benfica midfielder was recently namechecked by the journalist as someone to ‘look out for’ in terms of possible replacements for Fabinho at Liverpool, should the Brazilian depart for Al-Ittihad.

The reporter even cited the 23-year-old as ‘a very Fabinho-type player’ in terms of his attributes on the pitch, and the verdict from Joao Tralhao – his one-time youth coach at the Lisbon club – suggests that he’d be a fine successor to the Reds’ current number 3.

In his latest Empire of the Kop Substack column, Jones said of Florentino: “From what I’ve seen of him and what I know, his defensive work is huge – he gets good numbers in interceptions, tackles, breaking up play, winning possession. It’s scary. I think he’s right up with the best in Europe in the Champions League and top five leagues.

“Style-wise, if you’re looking at a Fabinho replacement and you’re wanting a Fabinho, the size of him, the type of player he is, the position he plays… Joao Tralhao, who I spoke to for a piece, said to me ‘I do think he has the ceiling to be one of these top midfield players’.”

The journalist added that the 23-year-old is someone who Liverpool ‘have definitely looked at’ previously.

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Although there don’t appear to be any live links to Anfield with Florentino at the moment, the Reds are thought to have scouted him at Benfica matches earlier this year.

As Jones mentioned, the midfielder boasts some highly impressive statistical returns, as evidenced by figures from FBref.

He ranks among the top 4% of positional peers in Europe over the past year for a number of core metrics such as tackles (3.48), interceptions (2.67) and completed passes (78.79) per match, as well as pass completion (89.7% accuracy).

While the quantitative information paints an encouraging picture, the glowing assessment from a coach in Tralhao who worked with Florentino as a teenager adds further weight to his CV in terms of a potential defensive midfield target for Liverpool to consider this summer.

He started all 10 of Benfica’s matches in their run to the Champions League quarter-finals last season (Transfermarkt), marking him out as a central figure in one of Europe’s leading teams, and as a player who’s had plenty of exposure already to the highest level in club football.

The 23-year-old certainly appears to be someone the Reds ought to be contemplating seriously as a prospective replacement for Fabinho at Anfield, especially if the Brazil international leaves for Saudi Arabia in the near future.

#Ep80 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Fabinho & Jordan Henderson… going, going, gone?🎙️

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