Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has won trophies throughout his career, and the Spaniard may have his eye on bringing silverware to the club in the coming years.
The 51-year-old has won 11 trophies combined for various clubs, including four Europa League titles, and had an opportunity to progress the Villans in the Carabao Cup in one of his first matches in charge but lost 4-2 to Manchester United.
They were unable to get the better of Erik ten Hag’s side despite taking the lead in that match, and the Red Devils went on to win the competition as they defeated Newcastle 2-0 in the final yesterday.
Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes was the star of the show on that November night as he produced one goal and one assist to punish Villa at the top end of the pitch.
Could Aston Villa sign their own Bruno Fernandes?
Emery could now land his own version of the Manchester United star by signing Sporting Lisbon attacker Pedro Goncalves – who the Midlands club are reportedly eyeing up ahead of the summer – at the end of the season.
The 24-year-old has an €80m (£71m) release clause, and he could come in and make a similar impact to Fernandes at the top end of the pitch based on his exceptional form for his current club in recent years.
Fernandes managed 63 goals and 50 assists in 137 outings for Sporting before his move to England three years ago, and the “outstanding” Goncalves – as once hailed by his former coach Rob Edwards – has produced 54 goals and 26 assists in 112 outings to date for the same club.
The Red Devils dynamo has adapted brilliantly to English football and has racked up 57 goals and 49 assists in 164 appearances for the Manchester club so far, which shows that he has been able to translate his form from Portugal over to the Premier League.
Goncalves, who has scored 12 goals and provided five assists in 20 Liga Portugal appearances this season, was once lauded as the “new Bruno Fernandes” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, and the respective players’ statistics suggest that it is an accurate comparison.
Both players are Portuguese attacking midfielders who have proven that they can deliver goals and assists on a regular basis in their home country for Sporting.
Also, as per FBref, they have posted similar returns for assists per 90 (0.26 each), shots (53 v 50, Goncalves first), shots on target (18 v 17), shot on target percentage (34% each), pass completion (76.3% v 73.2%) and interceptions made (16 v 15).
It is now up to Goncalves to prove that he can make the same seamless transition that Fernandes made when he arrived in England to join United.
Villa must take a punt on the talented youngster and snap him up in the summer as the 24-year-old has the potential to be an influential figure for the club at the top end of the pitch, which could help them in their pursuit of a major trophy.