Football News

Leicester City’s gain? Fernandinho’s new Man City deal suggests Pep’s next Mascherano project will continue

By Harry Edwards

Fernandinho future with Man City

Published: 9:58, 9 January 2020

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has confirmed he is close to signing a new deal with the club.

Fernandinho, 34, has been with Man City since 2013, joining from Shakhtar Donestk but his current deal runs out at the end of the season.

By that time the Brazilian will have turned 35, but he is still a reliable player for Pep Guardiola whether playing as a midfield destroyer or filling a gap at centre-back, as he has this season.

Does Fernandinho have a future at Man City? Five things to know…

  • The Brazilian sees his contract run out at the end of the season and the club signed Rodri, also a CDM, for around £62m last summer.
  • Man City are favourites* (4/1) to sign Jonny Evans before 1st February 2020
  • …while their are rumours of an unsuccessful bid for his partner in central defence, Caglar Soyuncu.
  • But Fernandinho has spent the 2019/20 solely playing at centre-back due to Man City’s injury problems.
  • And he has now revealed he is close to reaching undisclosed contractual “goals” and signing a new deal with the club.

*Odds by William Hill. 18+ only. For more information, go to BeGambleAware.org.

With the summer arrival of Rodri, Fernandinho is yet to feature as a midfielder for Man City in 2019/20, making 23 appearances at centre-back following injuries to Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi at various stages.

Man City’s injury problems have also seen them linked with new centre-backs in the January transfer window including Leicester City’s Jonny Evans.

The former Manchester United defender has proven he is still capable of performing at the top level, forming a formidable partnership alongside Caglar Soyuncu – who is also said to be on Man City’s shortlist – at the heart of Leicester’s defence that has the Foxes second in the Premier League.

At Man City, Evans would undoubtedly be used as back-up with the experience they lost upon Vincent Kompany’s departure in the summer. But any interest the club may have could drop with any new deal for Fernandinho.

And, speaking after Man City’s 3-1 win over Man Utd in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, Fernandinho has revealed he is close to hitting clauses that would see his contract renewed automatically.

“When I renewed at the end of 2018, we put a clause that if I reached certain goals, my contract would be renewed automatically,” he told ESPN Brazil.

“Conversations have already started, we talked about it last month. I am close to reaching those goals and renewing the contract, but we can only confirm it after signing.

“The club have already shown interest in me staying, I have also shown [my interest] in staying.”

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While some players may become disgruntled at playing out of their favoured position for long periods of time, Fernandinho is happy with his centre-back role as it allowed him to continue in the Premier League.

“It’s good as long as you can be at the highest level,” he added on playing in defence.

“Playing in a different position opens up the range of learning.

“In defence, I see the game in a different way. It has been very cool and the guidance I have received from Pep has been very good.

“At 34, playing in the Premier League is a source of pride. Many, many players wanted to be experiencing what I am experiencing.”

Fernandinho is not the first defensive midfielder to have been utilised as a centre-back by Pep Guardiola and he may not be the last.

During his highly successful spell in charge of Barcelona, Guardiola had a plethora of midfield talent on his hands including Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Seydou Keita, Thiago, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano.

But towards the end of the 2010/11 campaign had another dilemma on his hands with Carles Puyol injured and his replacement Eric Abidal sadly being diagnosed with a tumour in his liver.

Mascherano was the man to step back from the midfield to partner Gerard Pique and he rarely appeared anywhere other than centre-back for Barcelona. He did return to defensive midfield for Chinese club Hebei Fortune, but Mascherano will forever be remembered at Barcelona for being part of the defence that dominated La Liga and won the treble in 2015.

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