Have the performances of Fernandinho merited a new contract at Manchester City?
If there is one thing that should be taken from the recent summer transfer window, it’s that the world’s top clubs need to deal with out-of-contract players before it’s too late and they go for nothing.
The whole Alexis Sanchez saga epitomised this, with Wenger’s reluctance to sell this summer – added to his inability to get him to sign a new deal – meaning that he’ll likely leave for free in July.
And Manchester City need to be careful not to fall into the same trap as, according to reports coming from The Sun this morning, midfield maestro Fernandinho is still in the dark over his future.
The 32-year-old’s current contract runs out at the end of the season and whilst he had allegedly expected to have signed a new deal by now, negotiations are yet to take shape between the player and the club.
Speaking about the situation, an unnamed source close to the Etihad has said:
“He is still in the dark a bit, but it is hoped it will all be sorted in the near future as he wants to remain here. He is vital to the side, and the main anchor in midfield for Pep. He loves it, and loves having the Brazilian lads around.”
But has the 32-year-old merited all the talk of a one-year contract extension?
It’s hard to deny the fact that Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has slightly gone under the radar since his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, always seemingly being in Yaya Toure’s shadow.
But there’s been quite the turnaround at the Etihad since the arrival of Pep Guardiola, and the 32-year-old has gone from strength to strength over the past season and become known as Mr Reliable at City.
Despite missing just six Premier League matches last season he perhaps wasn’t truly awarded the opportunity to stamp his mark in the midfield, often utilised as a make-shift right-back or wing-back during Guardiola’s experimental line-ups post-Christmas, rather than in his preferred holding role.
Yet the arrival of Kyle Walker has put-paid to any chance of this happening again, and Guardiola’s midfield preference seems to have changed slightly this year with Fernandinho leaping above Toure.
The Brazilian has played every minute of Manchester City’s opening five Premier League matches this season and impressed whilst doing so, acting as the engine room in the heart of a rampant City side that have swept aside almost every challenge faced, climbing to the summit of the Premier League table.
Whilst you know what you get with Toure, marauding forward and using his physical strength to his benefit, Fernandinho is more technical and shrewd and arguably fits Guardiola’s coaching style well.
He’s completed 88% of his 432 passes so far, which is perhaps expected for someone playing in a deep role in a successful side, but the fact that over 70% of these passes have been forward shows the attacking intent in his game, looking to find David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne in the midfield gaps.
But his small and sleight stature is by no means detrimental to his defensive duties, with Fernandinho still coming out on top in 65% of his aerial battles due to his dogged determination.
You only have to look at his contribution to City’s opener in the victory over Liverpool to see the impact he’s having this season, out-muscling Emre Can in the air and diverting the ball into De Bruyne’s path.
Whilst it’s still anyone’s guess as to what’s going on between Toure and Guardiola at the moment Fernandinho is thriving in that role, and he’s arguably playing the best he ever has in Manchester.
Reports from The Sun earlier this year suggested that the Brazilian will be offered a one-year rolling contract extension – much like Toure’s from last season – and based on his displays it’s easy to see why.
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