Manchester City are closing in on the signing of Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk. The Brazil midfielder was pictured having a medical in Manchester as sources close to Shakhtar said a fee had been agreed...
Sky Sports News reported that Fernandinho will cost City £34 million and the Daily Mail said his price will be £22 million while ESPN believes City would rather pay a sum in the region of £20 million. He has a €50 million release clause in his contract with the Ukrainian champions but City have been adamant they will not pay that much.
The 28-year-old has made no secret of his desire to join the 2012 Premier League champions this summer, and has now seemingly secured his dream move to the Etihad Stadium. However, as big as the deal is for the Brazil international in his bid to make Luiz Scolari's 2014 World Cup team, the move is also incredibly significant and important for Manchester City as well.
In fact, this deal deal—despite not being the most expensive deal we've ever heard—has the potential to be the most important Premier League deal of the summer.
That's how big this move is for Manchester City.
It's probably important to put a little disclaimer on that bold statement before we go any further. Obviously, if Manchester United or Chelsea were somehow able to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid this summer, that would no doubt be the most important league deal.
The same would obviously apply if Lionel Messi left Barcelona.
However, outside of those less-than-likely transfer scenarios, there is no other deal that could take place that will have the same immediate impact that Fernandinho and Manchester City will have.
Not even Gareth Bale or Wayne Rooney making a summer switch.
For while Manchester City might have suffered a very frustrating 2012-13 season—losing the FA Cup final to Wigan Athletic and their Premier League defense to rivals United—the Citizens still boasted a very promising squad. Their players, and particularly their attacking players, all showed themselves to be world-class at certain points throughout the year and reinforced that they will be very strong in years ahead.
Arguably City's biggest problem of the year was their effectiveness in attack—something that was integral to their Premier League breakthrough back in 2012.
The reasons for that demise are complicated. Part of it is the injury problems to Sergio Aguero, Jack Rodwell and Carlos Tevez during the year. Part of it was the fact that Roberto Mancini left Edin Dzeko on the bench during his hot streak. Part of it was the struggles of David Silva.
However, it was the result of those reasons combined that was most important. Their inability to move the ball effectively from midfield to attack meant that their best attacking midfielder—Yaya Toure—was forced to drop further down the field to try to build the attack himself. And that, in turn, left the Citizens without arguably their best attacking playmaker as they tried to get some positive go-forward.
In the end, it left them without the same ruthlessness in attack. Yet throw Fernandinho into that mix, and that tenacity and effectiveness going forward could return.
As simple as that.
Earlier in the year, I wrote about the possible combination of Fernandinho and Toure, and discussed the possible ramifications for Manchester City.
Bringing in the 28-year-old would allow Toure—arguably the best and most consistent player on City's roster—to play the role he does best.
Having Fernandinho in behind would allow Toure to push forward and chime into the attack as he does so well which, in turn, would no doubt start to bring about the goals that City have lacked at times this season.
[Fernandinho] is a better defender than Toure, but perhaps most importantly, he would thrive with the 30-year-old of him. Having the other player in the middle of the field to work with, both Toure and Fernandinho would be able to control the tempo of the game and win back possession seemingly at will. Opposing sides would have to be much more direct against City, which, given their ability to create turnovers, would give them a huge advantage going forward.
72.1% - Of the players to attempt more than 25 dribbles in the Champions League this season, Fernandinho had the best success rate. Tricky.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 5, 2013
In short—it's a season-defining transfer.
Much like Robin van Persie to Manchester United did, the transfer of Fernandinho to Manchester City has the potential to completely change the power balance in the Premier League once more. It could turn the Citizens' otherwise solid attack into the powerhouse that it was throughout 2012.
The pieces are there for Manchester City to dominate in attack.
They have Aguero, Tevez and Dzeko. Even if one of them leaves over the summer transfer, they'll more than likely bring in a replacement—and that's without mentioning Roque Santa Cruz, who is still on their books. They also have their latest summer signing in Jesus Navas (per BBC Sport) and seemingly have a new pairing in midfield of Fernandinho and Toure.
Combined, it's a lethal attacking team that few Premier League clubs can match.
And all because of one summer transfer.
I'd keep watching this space.
Just another transfer overreaction, or is Fernandinho worth the hype?
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