West Ham United’s decision to sell Edimilson Fernandes to Mainz was justified on Sunday as the midfielder struggled during Switzerland’s clash with England in the Nations League.
Fernandes, a leggy central player with the ability to play in both attacking and defensive midfield, started the game in central midfield.
Of course, Switzerland were dominated by Gareth Southgate’s side in the third-place play-off, with England clocking 60% possession, though they were unable to make much of it.
They ultimately won on penalties, their second penalty triumph in 12 months after they also defeated Colombia on spot-kicks at the World Cup in Russia, and Fernandes’ struggles were a key part of England’s dominance.
Per WhoScored, he had a 93% pass completion rate from 27 passes but none of them were key passes – suggesting that he merely recycled the ball in midfield by moving it either sideways or backwards – while he also failed to register a shot on goal.
Far from being a box-to-box midfielder, he did not win an aerial duel, he made just one tackle throughout his time on the pitch and he was dispossessed twice.
West Ham pocketed £8m from the Bundesliga side for Fernandes’ signature and that looks like a better deal every time you look at it.
He made a total of 48 appearances for the Hammers but he never once stood out as being the future of the club’s midfield.
At the age of 23, he clearly has room to improve, but he was roundly outclassed by England’s midfield of Fabian Delph, Eric Dier and Jesse Lingard.
They are not world-class central midfielders, nor are they really first-choice for their clubs, bar Lingard.
That Fernandes had next to no impact against them suggests that the Hammers were absolutely right to cash in.