Why Gedson Fernandes is in demand

Adam Smith

Data and Analysis @AdamDatasmith

Fernandes’ representatives have been in the UK and have spoken to four Premier League clubs

Last Updated: 03/01/20 9:47am

Manchester United and three other Premier League clubs have been linked with Benfica youngster Gedson Fernandes – but why is the 20-year-old in demand?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted the club want to recruit in central midfield, with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay sidelined – leaving only Nemanja Matic, Fred and Andreas Pereira to call upon.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals Manchester United are looking at ‘one or two’ midfielders in the transfer window following injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals Manchester United are looking at ‘one or two’ midfielders in the transfer window following injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay

It is thought Benfica want to loan the Portugal international out for 18 months with an option to buy. Lyon and AC Milan have made formal offers but the player would prefer a move to the Premier League.

Fernandes has not featured in Benfica’s last seven games and is thought to have fallen out with head coach Bruno Lage.

His contract includes a £102m release clause – but Benfica have conceded they will not get that kind of money for an out-of-favour player.

Where does he play?

He joined Benfica’s youth system in 2009 and was promoted to the first-team squad for the the start of 2018/19, promptly earning his senior international debut – having represented his country at youth levels.

In that breakout league campaign, Fernandes played either side of central midfield and clocked 1,044 minutes. This term, he has racked up just 215 minutes so far, primarily deployed as an attacking right midfielder.

The graphic below shows his heatmap and key stats from last season, revealing how he typically prefers to work in the attacking third but also drops deeper.

His key attribute is running with the ball, frequently being fouled and winning free-kicks – but he also provides midfield mettle with an above-average number of duels won and forward-thinking distribution.

The touch map below elaborates on the above, revealing how he rarely enters the penalty box but operates deeper in the opposition’s half and works into wider areas, while the passing sonar indicates he rarely passes backwards.

Those tendencies play out in his shot map for 2018/19, too. He took only six shots inside the box but attempted 10 from range – all typically coming from the right-of-centre area, with a distance of about 20 yards.

The player’s representatives have been in the UK to discuss a potential move to the Premier League, and the Portugal international would offer forward-thinking creativity, defensive qualities and youth for the suitors.

How to follow the January transfer window

Sky Sports will bring you the very latest news from the January transfer market with the return of three shows.

Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day’s news with The Transfer Show.

Meanwhile, the Transfer Talk podcast will also be back at the turn of the year with more expert analysis from here and across the continent.

And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don’t miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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Source : Sky Sports