|Fabio prepares for year at QPR, but is he a sound long term option?|
Mon 02nd Jul 2012 18:53 by Clive Whittingham
Mark Hughes has plugged a gap in the left side of the QPR defence and brought the average age of his side down by agreeing a season long loan deal with Manchester United for Brazilian full back Fabio.
Fabio da Silva’s season long loan move to QPR from Manchester United separates him from his identical twin Rafael for the first time in the pair’s professional career.
They were spotted as 11-year-olds by Brazilian outfit Fluminense and then four years later by Manchester United after impressing in an exhibition tournament in Hong Kong. When they turned 18 they were signed by United, Fabio having impressed further as captain and top scorer of Brazil’s Under 17 side in the 2007 World Cup in Korea in the meantime.
That he has gone from that position to not being included in the Brazilian Under 23 side that will compete at this summer’s Olympics in London gives a decent indication of why QPR have been able to take him in on loan – this is a player who needs regular first team football. Fabio has played 53 times for Manchester United since signing in 2008, which considering he is currently only 21 is no mean feat. But the majority of those performances have come in cup and European group games and he has found his opportunities limited by the presence of French international Patrice Evra. By comparison his brother, who plays right back and has no Evra-type in front of him, has played 89 times for United and 52 times in the league.
His competitive debut came in a 2009 FA Cup tie against Spurs and his league debut followed eight months later on the opening day of the season against Birmingham. He scored two goals in 25 appearances during 2010/11 against Arsenal in a 2-0 home win and Wigan in a 4-0 away romp.
"He's played a lot of senior games for United, so it shows the quality he's got. I know they think very highly of him and we believe he has all the attributes to be a success here next season. First and foremost, he's a good defender. He's got great enthusiasm as well, and just like his brother he's a top professional. We can give him the games he's craving at this stage of his career, so it benefits everybody. He's very versatile - he can play left or right-back and he's also been utilised in midfield by Sir Alex in the past, so we know what we're getting, and that's a very good player." - Mark Hughes
"This loan is so important for me in terms of my career. I want to play as many games as possible here. I want to play well and win games as well. It's a good move for my career and for my confidence. I also came here because I'm ambitious. I want to help QPR progress up the Premier League. Hopefully the fans will enjoy watching me in action, because I'll do my best." - Fabio
This is an excellent signing for us, albeit even if it is a loan. He's young and hungry and has the right potential to progress with us if he gives it his all. It's important to sometimes have young players who still need to grow in terms of their mentality and maturity and he's at a stage where he really needs to do that and accelerate his development. A player in that stage of their career is usually always dynamic, vibrant and purposeful on the pitch, so hopefully he'll be that way for us. I would have thought he'd play at left-back here. - Neil Dejyothin
Good signing all round really: great versatility for Hughes, has played in the Prem and Champions League and has Brazilian International caps. Offers us something we've struggled without in the past which is pace. Can’t see how anyone can be anything but happy to see him come in. - Jamie
The thing to beware when signing players from Manchester United is mistaking something that glitters for something made of gold. Alex Ferguson makes mistakes just as every other manager does – Bebe, Massimo Taibi, Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba – and simple because a player has been signed by him and Manchester United doesn’t automatically make them a foolproof signing for a club like QPR.
In fact, QPR’s record when taking on former Manchester United players is pretty lousy. John Curtis, Nick Culkin, Danny Nardiello and most recently Federico Macheda would all stand a chance of making a Worst Ever QPR XI such was their negative impact during short spells at Loftus Road.
Luckily I don’t think we’re getting into another Federico Macheda situation here - where a sub-par player is hauled in by a club tricked by his Manchester United contract into believing he’s good enough for the Premiership - because Fabio has played 53 times for United and looked reasonably promising. The reason Macheda is available for loan is because he’s crap, and cannot get near the Manchester United first team. The reason Fabio is available to us is because, unlike his brother who is a regular at right back, he’s found himself behind somebody as good as Patrice Evra in the pecking order.
It’s also fairly pressing that we get the average age of our team down – it was the highest in the league last season and not been greatly improved so far this summer by moves for Robert Green, Ryan Nelsen and Andy Johnson. And, with only Armand Traore currently signed up and ready to play and Hughes perhaps seeing him as more use further forward, we’re lacking both quantity and quality at left back.
But to be honest I find this a bit of a strange one. Medium and long term, what exactly are we getting out of serving as a proving ground for a Manchester United player for the next nine months? If he’s brilliant for us then that’s great but it will merely reassure Man Utd that they do have a long term replacement for Evra, if he’s poor then we might be able to sign him from them but wouldn’t want him. It just doesn’t seem particularly ambitious or forward thinking.
Given that Taye Taiwo seemed to suggest midway through his loan spell last season that he’d definitely be staying if Rangers remained in the Premier League it seems odd that we’ve passed up that opportunity in favour of signing a less proven player on loan from another club for a year. I liked Taiwo, and liked the idea of he and Traore forming a left sided partnership this season, so I think it’s a shame that now won’t happen.
Please don’t confuse this with me writing Fabio off as a bad signing or a poor player because I don’t think he’s either. He’s an improvement on what we currently have available for the left back position, and he’s a quality player we probably couldn’t afford to buy at the moment that may help push the team into Premiership consolidation whereupon we may be able to look at players like this as permanent deals rather than loans in the future. There is always the possibility as well that he impresses, likes it down here, and fancies a permanent move rather than covering for Evra for another couple of years.
Chances are though, however well he performs for us we’re going to be looking for a new left back again this time next year. If we can get a really fantastic talent who will make an unbelievable difference to our side – Man City’s Adam Johnson for example – on loan then by all means use the loan market, but otherwise I’m not sure we get much out of bringing in big club’s kids and letting them make their mistakes and learn their trade on our time.
Pictures – Action Images