Manuel Fernandes is set to move again. After starting his career in Portugal, the midfielder has played in Spain, England, and Turkey. He can now add Russia to that list, after his transfer to Russian Premier League club Lokomotiv Moscow was announced today. The midfielder was without a club after his contract with Besiktas ran out, and the Russian team were the most enticing offer. Fernandes had also been heavily linked with a move back to Benfica, the club where he began his career, but the player instead opted to stay abroad.
A player whose talent is undoubted, Fernandes has struggled for form over the past few seasons. That, coupled with injuries, meant that Fernandes’ stock has fallen greatly in the past season. After starting his career brightly at Benfica and making his debut for the national team at 19 years old, Fernandes had two stints on loan in England, first with Portsmouth then at Everton. After returning from Everton, Fernandes moved again, this time permanently to Valencia for a fee of 18 million euros. After lukewarm performances and injury problems, Fernandes signed for Besiktas for a measly 2 million euros after a successful loan spell. At Besiktas, Fernandes’ performances ranged from sublime to abysmal, and his career stagnated.
This move comes in the prime of Manuel Fernandes. Aged 28 years, many players have the most success during this time in their career. Can Fernandes prove everyone wrong? Can he finally find his prime?
The heartbeat of the Besiktas’ midfield is Manuel Fernandes. There is no arguing that. Since joining the Turkish team on loan from Valencia in January 2011, Fernandes has come-of-age. His performances on loan were of such a high standard that at the end of the season, Besiktas opted to purchase him outright. Since then, he has been transformed from a talented player to a talisman for the Turkish team. The midfielder has scored six in all competitions this season, including two in his last two matches. He has also assisted countless others, which has helped him cement himself as one of Besiktas’s most important players.
While Manuel Fernandes’ talent has been undeniable, contract disputes and injuries have hampered any sort of consistency. Fernandes broke onto the scene for Benfica in the 2003-2004 season. In only his second game for the club, he scored, making him the second youngest goalscorer for the club. He soon established himself as an important member of the team, and, in the process, picked up his first cap for Portugal. After two loan spells abroad, both in England (for Portsmouth and Everton), Valencia snapped him up for a fee of around 18 million euros. At Valencia, injuries hampered his natural progress. After failing to make Unai Emery’s plans last season, he joined Besiktas on loan from January until the end of the season. After a successful half-season at the Turkish club, he was bough outright for 2 million euros. Since then, he has established himself as one of the finest midfielders playing in Turkey, and is considered by many to be a shoo-in for the Euro 2012 squad.
His fine performances for Besiktas have not gone unnoticed. Real Madrid and Tottenham are both said to be courting the midfielder. Reports coming out of Turkey even suggest that a 17 million pound deal has already been agreed between Tottenham and Besiktas for the midfielder. Though these reports appear to be untrue, a similar deal may not be too far off.
For some reason, all of the good moves happen late. Former Benfica defender Ricardo Rocha, who has played for the likes of Tottenham and Standard Leige, has recently been without a club. Portsmouth, trying to fill the void that will be left from Kaboul’s departure to Tottenham, snatched up the injury-prone defender.
Elsewhere, Felipe Teixeira has made a loan move from West Brom to Barnesley. This move will be good for the Portuguese midfielder who has gotten limited playing time for the Championship side.