West Ham and Manchester United are among four Premier League clubs linked with Benfica youngster Gedson Fernandes – but why is the 20-year-old in demand?
Fernandes posted on Instagram with an Irons symbol, suggesting a move to London Stadium could be imminent, with David Moyes looking to add to his midfield options after a 4-0 win against Bournemouth in his first game in charge.
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.
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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 midway inside the opposition half 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 25 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
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