One of Newcastle’s winter priorities is adding another top youngster to the ranks in addition to Garang Kuol. There has been no shortage of talented wonderkids attracting the club’s attention either domestically or from afar.
Some budding stars to hit the headlines recently includes Leeds right-back Cody Drameh and Velez Sarsfield playmaker Maximo Perrone. However, there was a talented teenager Newcastle were tracking before all these recent links came to light.
In June, there were a number of reports claiming Newcastle were preparing an offer that could reach £16m for the exciting winger. Ajax had already had a bid of £12m knocked back by Braga.
Fernandes was coming off a breakthrough campaign in which he racked up 11 appearances with 3 goals. He became the youngest player to play in the Portuguese top flight after his debut in August of 2021.
After catching the eye in a cup match last October, his manager at the time, former Swansea boss Carlos Carvahal, said the following about Fernandes, who was 15 at the time:
“It was unbelievable. I know football. This is not normal.
“I asked him the next day, ‘Where did you learn this? Who taught you? This is a complex position.’ He told me that he watched all of Braga’s games and when he had been told that he would play as a left winger, he spent all that day watching videos of Galeno (the injured player he replaced).
“He had studied his movements in the offensive phase, defensive phase and the transition.
“Wow. At 15 years old, this was something special. The modern young player does not like to watch full games but this boy had done all that he could to learn this position.”
A change at the top has resulted in a change of fortunes for Fernandes. In May, Carvahal had his request to terminate his contract granted. In came Artur Jorge, who dropped Fernandes to the B team, which plays in the Portuguese third tier.
According to reports in Portugal, Newcastle are hoping the youngster’s demotion leads to a drop in Braga’s asking price. No fee is mentioned in the latest report but his exclusion from the first team could significantly impact his value to Newcastle’s benefit.