European football expert Andy Brassell has questioned the current form of 21-year-old midfielder Gedson Fernandes, who has completed a medical at Spurs ahead of a reported 18-month loan deal.
Brassell has suggested that he has not been performing at the levels he was last season, in which he made 22 appearances in Benfica’s victorious league campaign. Speaking on TalkSPORT, Brassell indicated that his lack of action so far this season, along with Benfica’s subsequent transfer dealings, suggests the junior Portugal international is not part of the club’s long-term plans, despite being thought to have a mammoth release clause.
He said: “He’s had a tricky season so far, there’s no getting around it. [He] signed to a new contract with great fanfare back in August with a €130m release clause, which is the highest release clause in the history of Benfica.
“He’s not played much – and the fact that they’ve signed Julian Weigl shows that they want to move on from him. The problem is, even though he’s not played much, you can’t justify selling him for £30m or £40m when he’s got a release clause that big, so that’s why it’s likely to be a loan deal.
“This is someone who’s a good tackler, he’s strong, he’s energetic, he’s good at bringing the ball out of defence into the opposition half, tidy on the ball. He was really good in their European fixtures last season as well as in their league fixtures, so the fact that he’s not really kicked on this season has been a little bit of a surprise.”
While Brassell highlights the array of qualities Fernandes supposedly possesses, it appears that the player’s lack of appearances suggests Benfica’s current opinion of him belies his release clause.
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His impending loan deal can only add further weight to that theory, and giving him 18 months to settle in England could perhaps be giving him the best chance of being snapped up by a willing suitor come the end of next season.
Therefore, it looks as if Benfica rate the player highly – but not highly enough to help them reach their own goals. It seems their approach is to cash in on the midfielder and will be relying on his progress in north London to lead to a future mega bid. And after seeing Joao Felix move to Atletico Madrid for £113m last summer, perhaps you can hardly blame them.
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