Thursday night sees the second leg of the Europa League’s quarter-finals and one fixture should be of particular interest to Tottenham fans – Sporting Lisbon vs Atletico Madrid.
The Lilywhites were linked with Sporting sensation Bruno Fernandes by A Bola last month and with the Portuguese side chasing a two-goal deficit against not only the top team in Europe’s second competition this season but also one of the most formidable defensive outfits on the continent, Thursday’s meeting will be a real test of the attacking midfielder’s abilities – and whether he has what it takes to perform against the best teams around. The Atletico Madrid vs Sporting betting odds show just how tough a task faces the Lisbon side.
It’s been a fantastic debut season for the 23-year-old at Estadio Jose Alvalade following a summer move for Sampdoria, one that has seen him earn his first four caps for Portugal and bag 13 goals and ten assists across all competitions – finding at least one strike and one setup in the Portuguese top flight, the Champions League and the Europa League.
Indeed, there’s no questioning Fernandes’ talent, especially in terms of speed and technique. He’s become an immense goalscoring threat for Sporting from long range and on the counter-attack, netting some stunning free kicks this year. That would add only more potency to Tottenham’s midfield, and the former Udinese man knows how to create chances too.
If there’s one obvious concern regarding his suitability to the Premier League, it’s how slight a player Fernandes is. He takes up good positions and lets his ball-playing do the damage, but it’s not always that simple in the Premier League when there are so many physically imposing central midfielders about. That being said, Fernandes has plenty of energy and works hard to win the ball back, averaging almost as many tackles as key passes per game this season.
That suggests he’ll be a good fit for Tottenham’s high-pressing style, which perhaps explains Mauricio Pochettino’s apparent fondness of Fernandes. But the plausibility of a summer deal remains to be seen; although A Bola believe he’ll be available for less, Sporting only signed the midfielder at the start of the season and his contract includes a €100million(£87million) release clause.
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