Benfica’s factory line has pumped out likes of Joao Felix, Ederson and Bernardo Silva in recent seasons - and it shows no sign of slowing down.
A small price to pay
However much Gedson Fernandes actually moves for in the end, Benfica are going to make a hearty profit on the 21-year-old.
When the Portuguese was 10, Sporting signed a pre-contract agreement with Fernandes’s youth team, SC Frielas. This was trumped however when rivals Benfica offered €250 and 25 footballs. Gedson’s parents reportedly needing convincing of their son signing for Benfica, but Frielas assured them it was best for his development - the deal sweetener no doubt helped.
Fernandes is a decent tackler, quick to release the ball and possesses a natural drive with the ball at his feet. In 2016 however, he proved his eye for the spectacular, scoring a looping goal against Besiktas in the UEFA Youth League from his own half.
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Not known for his scoring so much, the impressive thing about the strike was that the youngster caught the ball on the half-volley. Xabi Alonso, eat your heart out.
As is customary in Iberian football, Gedson Fernandes has a release clause. Set at a whopping €102 million, the sum was rumoured to be the biggest clause in Portuguese football, at least until Atletico Madrid triggered the buy-out in Joao Felix’s contract last summer.
A loan makes sense to prise Fernandes away from Lisbon, though. It’s understood at Benfica that since a box-to-box figure doesn’t fit in with the current tactical set-up, a fee of around £30m is about the most the club will ever receive for the midfielder’s services on current form.
It was all going so well...
The #PL reject the number 85 for @renatosanches35. He will now wear for the #Swans this season. pic.twitter.com/Lx7qWmkHOF— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 31, 2017
When Renato Sanches signed for Swansea in 2017, the Swans announced that the starlet would wear the number 35, as the Premier League rejected their proposal for Sanches to wear 85 - his number at Benfica.
Gedson Fernandes wears number 83 for As Águias. The Premier League states that “squad numbers must be consecutive and close to the current highest number”, though academy graduates are usually given higher numbers, such as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 66 for Liverpool, or Bukayo Saka’s 87 for Arsenal last season.
It’s unlikely that Gedson would take the same squad number at Spurs. Just in case though, every Premier League side except for Manchester City has the number 83 vacant.
From the spot
Reportedly a fiercely independent and very mature character, Fernandes had the composure to score the winning penalty for Portugal in the final of the U17 European Championship against Spain in 2016.
The youngster calmly slotted home the winning spot kick to give his country their second Euros title at that level, and has been on penalty duty on a few occasions for Portugal’s youth sides. Gedson was named in the team of the 2016 U17 Euros, alongside team-mates Diogo Dalot of Manchester United and Ruben Vinagre of Wolves.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.
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