Liverpool and Man Utd have been told a £44m-rated “complete” midfielder will be on the market next season and barring disaster, will be “world class” very shortly.
The Portuguese top flight has proved fertile ground for England’s biggest clubs in the transfer market of late. Man City signed their best centre-half – Ruben Dias – from Benfica, while Man Utd found a talisman at Sporting Lisbon in Bruno Fernandes.
Liverpool, meanwhile, struck gold with FC Porto’s Luis Diaz. Former Benfica hotshot, Darwin Nunez, is showing signs he’ll be a menace to Premier League defences for years to come.
By and large, the Primeira Liga offers greater value than buying from LaLiga or Serie A, for example. Certainly, greater bargains can be had when compared with buying from within the Premier League itself.
One of the next great players seemingly destined to walk the familiar path from Portugal to England is Enzo Fernandez.
Benfica snapped up the Argentine midfielder, 21, from River Plate over the summer.
Manchester United were interested at the time, though turned their attention to other areas after landing Christian Eriksen and Casemiro. Antony was not yet signed when Casemiro put pen to paper.
Fernandez has quickly established himself as one of the finest midfielders in the Portuguese league. He plays centrally, though can turn his hand to both the defensive and offensive sides of the game.
He was handed his senior Argentina debut in September and is expected to feature for his country in Qatar. Clearly, Fernandez is a superstar in the making and his long-term future will lay in a bigger league than Portugal.
Liverpool have drawn persistent links since the summer window slammed shut. The Reds’ midfield woes have been laid bare for all to see this season, and primary target, Jude Bellingham, cannot be the only new midfield arrival in 2023.
Ten Hag wants upgrade on two stars
90min recently reported Erik ten Hag is plotting to steal a march on Liverpool.
Fernandez more closely resembles Casemiro’s game rather than Eriksen’s, though despite the Brazilian making an instant impact, Fernandez would be an upgrade on both Fred and Scott McTominay.
Now, speaking to CNN Portugal, journalist Sofia Oliveira claimed the £44m-rated Fernandez should be on the move next summer.
Oliveira highlighted the Argentine’s best traits, and claimed all the signs point to him becoming “world class” sooner rather than later.
Furthermore, she stressed Benfica will struggle to retain a player of his calibre for much longer despite the fact he only signed four months ago.
Enzo Fernandez likely for sale next summer
“Enzo Fernández was a good fit for Manchester United,” she told CNN Portugal.
“Fernandez is one of the most complete players that have passed through Portugal in recent years.
“We are looking at a midfielder who can arrive in the box and shoot but is also very competent from the defensive point.
“He runs a lot and can also make a difference from set pieces. That’s not so accurate yet but he also has this ability. He is a very complete midfielder and Argentina will have a world class player on their hands if everything goes well.
“He will probably be in the market at the end of the season. There is a list of players that will have more value at Benfica by then and they will have more difficulties in holding on to them.”
While Fernandez might not be a particularly high profile name at present, it’s evident he won’t stay under the radar for long.
With the writing on the wall for Benfica, a bidding war between Liverpool and Man Utd may await in 2023.