FC Porto are well-known for finding hidden, shiny rocks and moulding them into priceless gems to sell off at huge profits to the world’s elite buyers. For years they have done it and made huge profit while still maintaining their place at the top of the Portuguese league.
Fernando Francisco Reges is another player plucked from obscurity and turned into a fantastic talent. The defensive midfielder was signed by Porto from Brazilian third division side Vila Nova.
After a short loan spell at Estrela Amadora Fernando won a place in Porto’s midfield and kept it, winning the treble under Andre Villas-Boas in 2010-11.
The Brazilian hasn’t looked back and is one of the first names on the team sheet for the Portuguese giants.
He is clearly an important player for Porto, so one would wonder why he has less than a year left on his contract. Liverpool were linked with him in 2011 while Kenny Dalglish was manager. But should Brendan Rodgers target the Brazilian midfielder?
It seems the Premier League club are searching for midfield reinforcements to sign in January, primarily defensive midfielders, so would Fernando be a good signing for the five-time European champions?
He is a ball-winner and picks his passes well. Fernando can also charge from midfield to create goalscoring opportunities having created three chances in as many games in this season’s Champions League – the same amount as Lucas Leiva has in seven Premier League games for Liverpool this season.
Comparing the two would be useful as Liverpool fans can see what they’d be getting should Rodgers decide to sign the Brazilian.
In his three European appearances this season, Fernando has won 74% of his duels, much better than Lucas’ 57% in the Premier League. From those duels, Fernando has won 10/11 tackles (ideal for a defensive midfielder) and has won three out of his five headed duels. Furthermore, against Zenit the 26-year-old won all seven of his tackles.
Lucas, on the other hand, has won 26 of 38 tackles and 13 of 20 headers. Their pass accuracies are very similar, though. Fernando with 88% success and Lucas with 90%.
Their shooting is irrelevant given their positions but both have had just one shot on target in their respective games.
Liverpool are lacking an energetic presence in central midfield and Fernando is exactly the type of player to improve that. He will get around the pitch and dominate from central positions. With Fernando just sitting in defensive midfield and breaking opposition’s attacks down, it will free up Steven Gerrard to play the football he is capable of. Gerrard’s passing and movement could improve knowing he has the stability of Fernando to help him out should he need to.
If Rodgers is serious about signing a defensive midfielder capable of dominating, then he should take a serious look at Fernando.