Manuel Fernandes: Part III?

Rumours have linked former toffee Manuel Fernandes with a third stint at Goodison  after he mutually agreed to terminate his contract with Besiktas. The Turkish club had paid Valencia €2 million for his services – a huge drop on the €18m the Spanish side paid Benfica for him in 2007 with Fernandes paid €2m for the 2011-12 season (roughly £31k per week).

The midfielder departed after a financial crisis at the Turkish outfit who couldn’t deliver either his basic salary or the proposed rise of €100,000 for the next 2 years. Fernandes was not the only player to fall victim to the clubs poor financial mis-management with ex toffee Matteo Ferrari also being left out of pocket by the club (he has since departed and rocked up at MLS outfit Montreal Impact). Besiktas were originally handed a suspended sentence and have consequently been banned from European football for one season for their conduct.

On the pitch, the Portuguese had 2 productive loan spells at L4 either side of an ill-fated big money move to the Mestella where he turned out on a sporadic basis for la liga outfit Valencia.  Fernandes was usually deployed for us as a central midfield regista. He has exceptional skill on the ball, using his quick feet to dribble at speed which make him adept at winning fouls (29 in 18 starts during his loan spells). He reserved his better displays for the big games vs Man Utd (goal) and in the wins against Arsenal and Newcastle (2 assists) – all at Goodison. Defensively he is competent with good upper body strength but lacks the drive and intensity in terms of pressing that say Fellaini delivers.  If Moyes is looking to use the big Belgian in a more advanced role next season- and the stats say he should – then we have a more orthodox central midfield role up for grabs. Like Gibson, Fernandes is more right footed and prefers to be on the ball rather than working to win it back so its dubious if they would be a good fit as a partnership. He also has  a tendency to drift out of position and make rash challenges (he conceded 7 bookings last season).

Although he was omitted from Portugal’s Euro 2012 squad this week he showed in the Europa league last season with 5 assists as well as 13 assists and 5 goals in the Turkish top flight he is far from finished and at 26 years of age he will feel he still has something to give. This creative spark is something Moyes will be well aware is the number one priority recruitment wise this summer particularly in wide areas where we have lost last season’s 3 most incisive players in terms of Pienaar, Donovan and Drenthe who amassed 20+ assists between them in their limited game time. The Scot is clearly a fan of Fernandes and his box of tricks having tried and failed to recruit him permanently and then trying to get him on loan for a third time in 2008, so with no fee its clearly a deal the frugal thinking Scot would be keen on. Whilst Fernandes is a character of dubious moral fibre I enjoyed watching him at Goodison and if a deal can be done I’d be confident he could ‘do a job’ for us again.



4 thoughts on “Manuel Fernandes: Part III?

  1. Great post … great site … thanks. Care to elaborate on the “If Moyes is looking to use the big Belgian in a more advanced role next season- and the stats say he should” part of the article? Was a discussion about this on the message boards and be interested to hear your take on why that would be a good fit — I agree but I don’t know why ;). I tend to feel his pressing ability is more dangerous up the field so he can break up the oppositions play before it starts (which we did to great effect when we finished fourth) and if he earns a turnover it’s in a very dangerous area of the field (rather than our own end is he’s playing deep). More to it of course … I know you did the analysis of him v. Rodwell and his stats are fantastic overall but curious to hear a breakdown of why he’d work so well there.

  2. Please stop banging on about Fernandez. To listen to some people he was the ‘first Messi’. All anybody talks about is his goal against utd. Where was he in games against Birmingham et al? He was criticised by Moyes for not working hard enough nad generally was anonymous in most games he played.

  3. I agree with your observations about Fernandes strengths and weaknesses but disagree with your view that he has two ‘productive’ spells with us. In the first he added substantially to the team’s performance and his attitude in training must have been ok for Moyes to subsequently try to sign him permanently.
    From my memory, his second spell was marked by laziness and bad body language on the pitch. The example which still grates was when he left Tony Hibbert high and dry to face two Arsenal attackers on his own, leading to their winner.
    Can’t see Moyes giving him consideration and believe this is a story without any foundation.

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