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Assist king Fernandes should be top priority for West Ham

Bruno Fernandes is reportedly one of several Sporting CP players set to terminate his contract this week, so could he be the man to replace Manuel Lanzini at West Ham?

What’s the story?

Last week, West Ham fans were devastated by the news of Lanzini’s knee injury, with one inside source even claiming the Argentine could miss the entire 2018-19 season.

The injury is a huge loss for the Hammers and will certainly have a major effect on Manuel Pellegrini’s transfer plans.

The move for Lazio winger Felipe Anderson seems to be getting closer, but a creative number ten now has to be at the top of the shopping list.

According to Sky Sports, Fernandes has joined the likes of William Carvalho and Gelson Martins by asking to end his contract at Sporting, meaning he could be available for free this summer.

The Portuguese club is in meltdown after a gang of supporters attacked their first team in May, and Premier League clubs are on red alert over some potential bargains.

The 23 year-old will have plenty of clubs lining up for his signature, but the allure of working under an experienced coach like Pellegrini could lure him to East London.

The assist king?

The injury to Lanzini is a huge loss for West Ham in every conceivable way. The 25 year-old, who worked under Pellegrini as a youth player at River Plate, is probably the most technically gifted player in the squad, and is the only player outside of Marko Arnautovic that can create something out of nothing.

While Anderson should replace some of the pace and flair lost by the injury, the Hammers need a direct replacement for the creativity Lanzini brings, and that’s where Fernandes comes in.

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Playing mostly as a number ten, the 23 year-old grabbed an incredible 16 goals and 20 assists in all competitions last season, averaging over two key passes per game.

The Portuguese international, valued at £27m by Transfermarkt, is a set piece wizard, one of the best crossers in Europe, and always fancies his chances with a long distance effort.

Fernandes is similar to Lanzini in that he will pop up in various positions to help make things happen, and could flourish in Pellegrini’s free flowing attack.

The young playmaker isn’t afraid to get stuck in either, averaging nearly two tackles per game in the league last season, so he shouldn’t have a problem adjusting to the physicality of the Premier League.

The Hammers will likely have to dish out some high wages to get a deal done, but it’s not every day a 23 year-old with 20 assists becomes available for free, so they should do whatever it takes to make it happen.

So, West Ham fans, would you back a swoop for Fernandes? Can Pellegrini convince him to join? Let us know by voting in the poll below…

Article title: Assist king Fernandes should be top priority for West Ham

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