After an impressive end to the 2010/2011 campaign, including a start in the Champions League final, the exuberant Brazilian has found his path to regular senior football this season blocked by Patrice Evra on the left and his twin brother Rafael on the right. Sir Alex was keen to stress that Fabio's opportunities have been limited by the impressive form of this pair rather than any shortcomings in his own game.
“With Evra such a consistent performer over the last five years, it doesn’t matter who would have been second choice, it would have been difficult for them and that is the situation with Fabio," said Sir Alex. "It has been difficult for him."
Loan deals have served the champions well in recent years, with Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley returning from similar spells away last term to stake a claim for a first-team spot. The prospect of Fabio going out on loan was first raised in Sir Alex's match programme notes last weekend, and confirmed by the boss on Friday.
“Yes, we will put him out on loan, possibly to Portugal next season; I know there has been a bit of interest.
"Fabio's brother has improved by getting consistent games for us. So I think a year out at a good level playing every week will make Fabio a real top player for us.”