If you haven’t heard, Sporting CP of Portugal are falling apart:
After Sporting fell short of a Champions League spot and before the Cup final that they would end up losing, a large group of fans entered the club’s training ground and physically attacked the squad. There were some injuries, striker Bas Dost suffered cuts to his head, but beyond the physical impact, the mental toll of the event was undoubtedly enormous. With a large number of fans blaming the President for installing such a confrontational climate around the club and for the lack of defense measures that could’ve prevented the attack.
Regardless of how people feel about the club’s last few months, both on and off the pitch, the threat of a wave of resignations from the squad members became very real when the first few came to fruition last week. Rui Patricio, team captain and starting goalkeeper for the last 10 years, delivered a 34-page resignation letter in which he details the events that happened during the afternoon of the attack and the inadequate relationship that stood between the president and the players for the last few months.
Today, their best players joined their captain in announcing that they have rescinded their contracts for “just cause”:
Confirmed: After Rui Patrício terminated his deal with the club last week, William Carvalho l, Gelson Martins and Bruno Fernandes have all followed their captain’s lead and terminated their contracts, quoting “just cause”.— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) June 11, 2018
The Sporting chaos continues. pic.twitter.com/tCrMNfxSXW
Just as Daniel Levy has seemingly pounced on Aston Villa’s misfortune to attempt to secure Jack Grealish at a discounted price, Fernandes, Martins, and Carvalho are all legit players worthy of our interest. Martins is a right-footed right attacking midfielder who adds dribbling and trickery to the attack. Carvalho is a solid defensive midfielder that could add depth to our pivot in the event that Moose goes and Winksy and Wanyama are dead. But it’s Bruno Fernandes that has me most interested.
Bruno is a 23 year old Portugese midfielder. Spurs have already been rumored to be scouting him. He can play both in more attacking roles and in more central roles. Here is what our friends at Statsbomb said about him when he was still in Italy playing for Sampadoria.
If I asked you do you want a Christian Eriksen clone, you’d immediately say yes right? If you look at where Bruno Fernandes passes the ball, Eriksen is the single closest comparison you can find. If you then go stat-by-stat, Fernandes looks very similar to Eriksen, except he doesn’t appear to need a hair transplant anytime soon.
That season he had .53 xG+xA per 90 according to Understat, which is very good for anybody, let alone a CM/AM tweener. Most of the advanced passing models have some questions about his passing ability but the models may be missing his quality because his passes are quite risky.
Bruno Fernandes, Sporting 17-18. pic.twitter.com/S48K1unTgZ— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) April 27, 2018
In addition to his 11 league goals and 8 assists this season he put up 4 goals and 4 assists in Sporting’s UCL and UEL matches over about 1100 minutes. Here is your obligatory techno highlights video though for some reason nobody has made a good one of him from this season.
Is he really available on a free? I am skeptical it would be that easy. Putting my lawyer hat on, whether the breach of the contract from the failure to provide a safe working environment is enough to allow the player to rescind the contract is unclear and also too I know nothing about Portuguese and EU labor law. On the other hand, could you sign the player and offer Sporting half the deserved fee to settle any potential legal actions and sign the player? Sure seems like a thing Daniel Levy might do.