Carvalho in action for Fulham

With today being deadline day for the January transfer window, time is running out for Liverpool to strike a deal with Fulham for reported target Fabio Carvalho. The Reds submitted a £5m bid for the player yesterday, with several reliable journalists reporting it.

The player is said to be out of contact in the summer and could join any club as a free agent subject to a compensation decided by a tribunal. Liverpool’s offer is said to include a six month loan at Fulham that will see the teenager complete the season with the promotion chasing side.

Many fans are still coming down from the high of the Luis Diaz signing yesterday and might not have any idea who Fabio Carvalho is. We take a deep dive into the career he’s had so far, and look at just what kind of player he is and what he could offer Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Fábio Leandro Freitas Gouveia Carvalho was born on August 30th, 2002. He was born in Torres Vedras in Portugal but has gone on to represent England at youth international level from the U15s, U16s, U17s to the U18s.

Carvalho joined the Benfica Academy as an 8 year old with the attacking midfielder spending three years in the Benfica youth ranks before the family moved over to London. He joined Balham FC, a football club based in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

After a year or so at Balham, he attracted interest from Fulham who signed him when he was just 12 years old. Carvalho has gone on to rise through the ranks of the famed Fulham Academy since joining in 2014.

He honed his skills in the U18 Premier League, FA Youth Cup, Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy. Predominantly an attacking midfielder, he flirted with central midfield roles and stints on the wing as he developed at a rapid pace.

Carvalho was fairly prolific for the youth sides, with his importance to the side seeing him captain the U18s on occasion. He netted 17 goals and provided 13 assists in 43 appearances for Fulham’s U18s side. This prolific streak saw him promoted to the U23s.

16 goals and 6 assists in 39 appearances for the U23s followed as he trailblazed his way into the first team. In May 2020, Carvalho signed his first professional contract with the club, penning a two-year deal ahead of his 18th birthday.

Fabio Carvalho celebrates scoring for Fulham

In September of that year, he was handed his senior debut for Fulham as a late substitute in a 2–0 League Cup victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Chances will be hard to come by after that debut and the then 18 year old would have to bide his time till January 2021.

The youngster would come on for the final eight minutes of Fulham’s 3-0 home defeat to Burnley in the FA Cup Fourth Round. With Fulham embroiled in a Premier League relegation battle last season, it rendered it difficult for youngsters like Carvalho to get consistent game time.

In the run in however, with their fate all but sealed, Scott Parker started to turn to the Academy youngsters in a bid to lay down foundations for the squad that will fight for promotion in the Championship the following season.

To that end, Carvalho made his Premier League debut in May, coming on as a late substitute in a 2-0 away defeat to Chelsea. A fortnight later, he made his full Premier League debut, starting on the right wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation away to Southampton.

The youngster was Fulham’s best player on the day, scoring the consolation goal in a 3-1 defeat. He completed 5/5 dribbles and got 3/3 shots on target to truly announce himself on the big stage. Interestingly, on the opposite side that day was Takumi Minamino.

Three days later, the 18 year old was handed a start away to Manchester United. He partnered Ivan Cavaleiro up top and lasted just over an hour before being taken off for Loftus-Cheek. He started the final game of the season a few days later in a 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle.

The touch paper had been lit and the youngster went into that summer hell bent on playing a major role in Fulham’s Championship return. He started this season like a house on fire, scoring three goals in his first five matches to win the EFL Young Player of the Month award for August.

He has been a revelation in the Championship alongside Liverpool Academy graduate Harry Wilson. He has excelled in the number ten role playing behind the prolific Mitrovic in a 4-2-3-1 for Marco Silva’s free scoring side.

Carvalho has made 19 appearances in all competitions this season, with 18 coming in the Championship (15 starts). He’s scored 7 goals from an xG of 5.79, with all of his goals coming from inside the box. He has also laid on 32 chances for his teammates, providing 4 assists.

Fabio Carvalho is enjoying a breakthrough season in the Championship

He is having a similar season to what Harvey Elliott enjoyed at Blackburn Rovers last season. He has played his part in Fulham going 5 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand. If a deal can be struck, he’ll remain at the club to see out the promotion charge.

Carvalho is right footed and stands at just 1.7m. He has a slight build and has been likened in some quarters to Coutinho due to his build, dribbling ability, lack of searing pace and an eye for goal. He’s very different to the Brazilian though, being more of a goalscorer than a creator.

A 19 year old scoring goals at that level is a remarkable prospect and one that could be groomed into a superstar under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp. With Kaide Gordon (18), Curtis Jones (21) and the aforementioned Elliott (18), the potential addition of Carvalho (19) would be quite the array of young attacking talents.

You can see the club’s succession planning in full effect as they seek to replace some of the ageing squad members with fresh and young talent for the long term. This move would be another coup if it goes through. Let’s see if it can be clinched before the deadline this evening.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s