Spurs have signed Gedson Fernandes from reigning Primeira Liga champions Benfica.
The 21-year-old began the season out injured with a metatarsal fracture but has been working his way back to full fitness since September. Having played only seven games so far in the Primeira Liga, Gedson would come into the Spurs midfield to, presumably, add depth and cover as José Mourinho tries to take them as far as possible in the Champions League as well as secure top four for next season.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 15, 2020
Spurs – winless in their last three league games – are currently eighth in the Premier League and nine points off a top-four spot, having conceded 31 goals while scoring just 36.
Spurs to sign Gedson Fernandes? Five things to know…
- Spurs announced the 18-month loan signing of Fernandes on Wednesday morning.
- The deal contains £55m purchase clause which becomes mandatory if Fernandes plays in at least half the games of the loan spell, according to Sky Sports.
- Sky claim Chelsea and West Ham also made offers to sign Fernandes, who will wear the No.30 shirt.
- Spurs are in particular need of midfield reinforcements after losing Mousa Sissoko to injury till April.
- Fernandes can and has played out wide and in multiple midfield positions but, as highlighted by smarterscout, he spent most of last season at CM.
As to what Gedson expects from his new team, the midfielder told Spurs’ club site: “I know the squad because I’ve watched some games, I have some references like Moussa Sissoko.
“I know a little bit about Eric Dier because he played in Portugal and I know the coach (Jose Mourinho) because he’s a big coach – I know about the staff (Assistant Head Coach Joao Sacramento and Goalkeeper Coach Nuno Santos) a little bit as well because one of my friends last year played at (their former club) Lille, so he spoke with me a little bit about the staff.”
Where would Gedson Fernandes fit in at Spurs?
Spurs are suffering from an injury crisis in midfield and it has had an adverse effect on their form, kneecapping the Mourinho revolution and preventing it from regaining the momentum of those initial three wins; they have lost five of their last 10 games and haven’t won since Boxing Day against Brighton.
Options are limited because of injuries to Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko. This, combined with the poor form of Eric Dier, saw Mourinho play wantaway Christian Eriksen in central midfield against Liverpool. So the need for Fernandes is quite immediate and luckily for Mourinho not only is he young and talented, but he is versatile.
Data analytics tool smarterscout list Fernandes as playing a wide variety of positions so far this season, from central midfield through to right-midfield and even on the left. The Portuguese has 96 minutes as a right-sided midfielder in 2019/20, 50 as a right-winger, 28 as a central midfielder, 23 as a defensive midfielder and even 11 as a left-sided midfielder.
The minutes may seem low but when you consider his injury, age and that he is thought to be a victim of Benfica’s shift to a 4-4-2 since Burno Lage took over last January, it makes a little more sense. This versatility would be a good thing for Spurs as it would enable him to, even when everyone is fit again, contribute by plugging any holes that emerge in Spurs’ midfield.
Fernandes has a fantastic motor and sense for pressing. The fact he has two caps for Portugal by age 21 suggests he’s considered a bright talent. It’s easy to see how Mourinho would be looking to use him in midfield, especially during Sissoko’s prolonged absence.
However, when we used smarterscout’s ‘similar player’ search function to see which players across Europe’s top five leagues resemble Fernandes’ style, two names who figured fairly high up in the list were Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele (both based on data from last season). When it comes to midfielders, you can’t say Spurs don’t have a type.
So how does the smarterscout tool work? They use algorithms developed by North Yard Analytics to measure playing style across eight dimensions and give you a rough visual guide to how players play. In the CM role, like Lo Celso and Ndombele, Fernandes is an agent of chaos through his tendency to dribble and disrupt while exchanging passes with teammates, though of those three he appears to contribute least in an attacking sense.
The question is, when everyone is fit, can such a raw talent like Fernandes – who has had his own fitness issues lately – become a more reliable figure in the eyes of Mourinho than those other two?