Tottenham Hotspur have now officially confirmed the signing of Benfica midfielder, Gedson Fernandes, with the player becoming Jose Mourinho’s first signing as manager.
But what exactly can we expect from the new recruit and what will he bring to Spurs in the next eighteen months?
Let’s find out…
Who is he?
The young Portuguese player is a midfielder who was born on 9 January 1999, recently celebrating his 21st birthday, and started his professional career in his home country.
His first footballing steps were made at SC Frielas in 2008 but then, shortly after, he joined Benfica’s youth system, advancing through the ranks until he eventually earned a promotion to the senior team in the 2018/19 campaign.
In the ongoing season, he’s been a bit-part player, tallying 630 minutes across 13 games played in all competitions.
His lack of regular football certainly adds an element of intrigue into what Mourinho has planned for the new recruit.
How does he play?
Even though he is primarily a centre-midfielder, as the games Transfermarkt have in their database indicate, he can also be deployed in a more advanced attacking midfield role or on the wing.
Fernandes is the type of player who loves to drift in-between the lines and even position himself in the wider areas, connecting well with his team’s attacking players.
We can actually see this tendency in his heatmap for the 2018/19 season and the stats that follow, as provided by Wyscout.
Fernandes’ attacking nature is also evident in the figures he managed to tally throughout the previous campaign. Even though we’re talking about a youngster, he still registered three goals and six assists across all competitions in 2018/19, averaging 1.32 shots – with 29.8% hitting the target – and 4.01 dribbles per game at a 48% completion rate.
But standing at 6 ft, Fernandes can also provide his team with a physical presence, putting a lot of effort into snatching the ball away and tackling the opposition. In 2018/19, he averaged 8.73 defensive duels per game, winning an impressive 59.4% and 2.66 interceptions per game.
Another key aspect of his game is his ability to recover the ball.
He averaged 6.63 recoveries in 2018/19, with 47.9% happening in the opposition’s half – perhaps an indication of his aggression and tendency to press high up the pitch.
As for passing, he averaged 84.6% accuracy last season, which doesn’t seem all that otherworldly but with 2.48 long passes per game, there is potential in there and this is something Mourinho could look to use in the ongoing campaign.
2019/20 so far
The ongoing campaign hasn’t really been a big hit for Fernandes at Benfica as he has played just 216 minutes in the domestic league.
Subsequently, his figures have certainly taken a dip as the 21-year-old is currently averaging only 0.1 key passes and 0.6 dribbles per game, as per Whoscored, and has no goals or assists to his name.
Still, this is a result of highly limited game time for the youngster and it should rise if he is given a proper chance by Mourinho in the remainder of the season.
Fernandes certainly looks like a player the Special One could mould into a potential superstar for the future.
He is young, raw and rough around the edges but the talent is there for everyone to see.
The 21-year-old has had a breakout season for Benfica in 2018/19 and is looking to finally make his name outside of Portugal.
With the absences of both Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko, as well as doubts over Christian Eriksen’s future, Fernandes could be a highly technical and physical presence capable of providing a solution in a potential problem area for Spurs.