One of the only pressing concerns on the Manchester City squad at the moment is the lack of depth in central-midfield. That’s why news of a last-minute attempt to sign Fernando from Porto isn’t that much of a surprise to those who have watched the Premier League leaders closely this season.
The pressure on Yaya Toure and Fernandinho—the two players who have played the most minutes for City this season—has been huge, and a player capable of rotating with them regularly is important.
Too many games can lead to tiredness and injuries, and with City's schedule set to get even more intense as the season progresses, ensuring their two key midfielders are fit and fresh is vitally important.
Toure and Fernandinho have formed a superb partnership during their first six months together. Toure has been freed by the Brzilian’s arrival, with a licence to bomb forward and score goals now key to his game. He's scored 15 already in all competitions and appears to be enjoying the freedom of playing on Manuel Pellegrini's attacking side.
Fernandinho has been a revelation. After eyebrows were collectively raised over the £30 million fee City paid Shakhtar Donetsk for his services in the summer (via the Mirror), most observers now accept he's been an excellent acquisition. He possesses energy, tenacity and the ability to drive City attacks from deep—giving them an edge previously absent.
With City's involvement in four competitions, though, another midfielder is needed and it's Fernandinho's fellow countryman Fernando who seems to be on City's radar.
Spotted by Porto playing for Brazil in the 2007 South America Youth Championship, Fernando impressed with his tough tackling and disciplined approach to the defensive midfield role. The Portuguese side signed him immediately, and his European career began.
He spent the 2007-08 season on loan at Estrela da Amadora where he was consistently in the starting line-up and got to grips with the European style of football. He returned to Porto for his second season and was a regular, immediately—part of a formidable midfield trio with Raul Meireles and Lucho Gonzalez.
He played every league game and 10 Champions League matches.
His excellent reputation had been forged. He's been a mainstay on the team ever since, and was a key player as Porto won the domestic treble in 2010-11.
His tackling ability is the defining feature of his game. He's an out-and-out defensive midfielder—the type City haven't had since Nigel De Jong—and would give the Blues the option of playing a three man midfield in away matches against the best sides.
At 26 years old, Fernando is coming into his prime and has all the necessary experience and quality needed to excel at City.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.