Should Spurs tap Bruno Fernandes to replace Eriksen?
Background photo: Paddy Briggs, CC BY-SA 3.0
Tottenham's maiden appearance in a Champions League final raised fans' hopes for this season. Expectations were Mauricio Pochettino's squad would carry on in 2019/20. Instead, it's been a rough ride. Spurs began the season in shambles. Performances were woeful, results uninspiring. The late goal surrendered to Everton on Sunday kept them in the table's bottom half, 11th on 13 points with only three wins in their 11 league matches. Their record in the Champions League is no better. The Lilywhites have it all to do to progress, with only one victory in their three group games thus far. While finding results is the priority, Christian Eriksen's situation must also be addressed.
After spending six years in North London, the 27-year-old intended last season to be the end of the road. The club had other ideas. He will be out of contract at season's end and went public with his desire to leave. His performances reflect his reluctance to pull on the shirt. Finding a replacement is necessary.
Given Eriksen's abilities and relevance to the team, his absence creates a sizeable vacuum. However, they need not look far for a replacement. Sporting CP's Bruno Fernandes is a fine option to take up the role.
The attacking midfielder attracts interest from several elite clubs. Tottenham attempted to sign him in the summer but couldn't agree terms with Sporting. According to reports, they are set to revisit the possibility when the window reopens in January.
Fernandes ticks the same boxes as the Dane. He can play deep or near the front, pass, create chances, dribble, finish and find the back of the net from set-pieces.
The Portuguese has been up there with the top playmakers in Europe for the past few years. In 124 appearances for Sporting, he's recorded 56 goals and 44 assists. In 15 matches across all competitions this season, he registers eight and six. Like Eriksen, he can take over matches and also make his teammates better.
The 25-year-old is gifted with technique, composure, and confidence. He can shoot from almost any angle and is very efficient when it comes to creating scoring chances. That said, his time in Serie A gave him a taste of the physicality he will confront in the Premier League.
Fernandes would be a great addition for Spurs. While the club beefed up the midfield by adding Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon, their finer edge will dull and creative spark dim when Eriksen departs. Amid the buzz last summer, Fernandes expressed his willingness to come to London. Nevertheless, Spurs must act fast. Other clubs will compete for his signature. In England alone, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs are said to be lining up bids.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn't getting enough production from his No. tens. Neither Andreas Pereira nor Jesse Lingard are appearing on the scoresheet. The Red Devils' impotence in the final third finds them one place above Spurs in the table.
City will lose Fernandinho and David Silva this summer. Ilkay Gundogan is making a case for himself as an inhouse solution but Pep Guardiola is never one to be satisfied with his squad.
It's hard to pinpoint where Fernandez would fit on Merseyside. Jurgen Klopp's attacking players are all in their prime. On the other hand, Unai Emery remains reluctant to use Mesut Ozil. Arsenal could be surprise entrants in the sweepstakes for the Portuguese star.
Then there are European sides. Bayern may regret cutting James Rodriguez loose. Die Roten's poor form cost Niko Kovac his job. The new man may identify a playmaker as his primary need with the Bundesliga champions. Napoli is slipping in Serie A. Carlo Ancelotti's attack could use a boost. Antonio Conte may still be looking for parts in his new Inter squad.
If Tottenham want Fernandes, it's going to cost. Their performance in the early doors should convince Chairman Daniel Levy, that Bruno Fernandes is a necessary investment.