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Guardian: Spurs close to loan signing of “mystery box” midfielder Gedson Fernandes

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Spurs are taking a chance on a young Portuguese midfielder with almost no first team experience.

SL Benfica v Rio Ave FC - Liga NOS Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur are on the verge of making a January transfer signing, according to the Guardian’s David Hytner. Spurs are very close to bringing in 21-year old Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes to north London on an 18 month loan, pipping West Ham in the process. The article states that the loan could be finalized and announced next week.

Apparently West Ham were very interested in taking Fernandes on the same deal — an 18 month loan, presumably with some option to purchase at the end — but he’s represented by Jorge Mendes, also Jose Mourinho’s agent, and Mendes offered Gedson to Spurs in the past couple of days.

In the 1989 Weird Al Yankovic movie UHF, there’s a scene that depicts a gameshow called “Wheel of Fish” — similar to Let’s Make A Deal — where a contestant gives up a guaranteed prize (Red snapper! Very tasty!) to look in the “mystery box” for a chance at something potentially much, much better. In the movie’s case... it doesn’t turn out well.

Fernandes is very much a “mystery box” kind of signing. He’s got almost no first team experience, but he has had a number of top clubs after his signature, based solely on his potential. He has just over 400 minutes in league + Champions League action for Benfica, so it’s hard to really get a sense of how good he actually is, or what he can do. He’s a central midfielder primarily, and his limited stats suggests that he should develop both good pass and tackle numbers. He also has two senior caps for Portugal.

In short, he’s all potential and zero experience, a Portuguese midfielder Juan Foyth, and on an 18-month loan it’s not the worst decision you can make. He could develop into something special, but it’s highly unlikely that he’s going to be the answer for Spurs in central midfield this season. He’s also tall and well, you can’t teach height.

If you’re curious, yes there is a YouTube highlight hype video replete with bad techno music. (Also note the trolltastic “Welcome to West Ham” title. LOL.)

However, an 18 month loan offers Tottenham a good chance to see if there’s something of value there. If he turns out to be a dud, then Spurs are out very little. If he turns into a star, then the club can purchase him outright and they’ll have a very good player for presumably not a whole lot of money. It’s kind of a no-lose situation, and the kind of player that Spurs should probably be taking a punt on anyway.

I don’t have a problem with this kind of signing at all. Sure, he’s not going to slot in next to Tanguy Ndombele and save Spurs’ season, but at this point Tottenham should be looking to the future anyway. Tottenham probably aren’t going to be spending significant money on a midfielder in this window, so it’s not like Spurs are giving up anything here either.

So fine, let’s take a flyer on Gedson Fernandes and see what happens. Sometimes the mystery box has a new car in it, and sometimes it contains... nothing. At least in this case, the end result is not going to end with a Japanese guy yelling “YOU ARE SO STUPID!!” at Daniel Levy.