Fabinho: Liverpool star stalls Saudi Arabia talks over his dogs - £40m deal and transfer news explained

Brazil’s Fabinho was set to join Jordan Henderson in Saudi Pro League
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Fabinho was set to become the latest footballer to make the move from the European leagues of football to the Saudi Pro League. The Liverpool midfielder had been in talks to join the Saudi-based side Al-Ittihad but it is quite possible that the deal could fall through due to the rule in Saudi Arabia which bans “dangerous and aggressive dogs” from the nation.

While Fabinho does not own what might normally be referred to as ‘dangerous dogs’ - such as Rottweilers and Pit Bulls according to the Saudi government - the Brazilian international does have two French bulldogs which may fall into the banned category due to poor branding when names were handed out to fashionable pets.

However, a document that was leaked onto Twitter labelled ‘Bringing pets to Saudi Arabia’ states that dogs are only allowed to enter if they are going to be used for hunting, serve as a guard dog or if they are ‘seeing-eye-dogs’. It remains to be seen whether Fabinho’s dogs, who have previously been pictured on his social media pages wearing christmas jumpers and the like, can be convinced to be seen as ‘guard dogs’ in order to be allowed into the country.

Fabinho at the AXA Training Centre in LiverpoolFabinho at the AXA Training Centre in Liverpool
Fabinho at the AXA Training Centre in Liverpool

It has been reported, however, that until the 29-year-old football star is given a definite answer on whether he is able to move his entire family to Saudi, including his four-legged members of the family, he will continue to stall signing his contract with Al-Ittihad.

Who else has signed with Al-Ittihad?

Nuno Espirito Santos’ side have been one of the busiest sides in the transfer window this season with Jota becoming one of their most recent signings after making the move from Celtic.

Fabinho had been set to link up with the ex-Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and the 2022 Ballon d’Or and Real Madrid icon Karim Benzema who both became free agents following the end of the 2022/23 season.

Liverpool had been in the middle of a huge major midfield rebuild after Jurgen Klopp let go Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner to depart as free agents, bringing in Alex Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. However, the Saudi interest in Henderson and Fabinho has prompted the Reds to once again reassess their options as they prepare to say farewell to their captain and midfielder.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.