Athletico Paranaense have announced that they have secured former Manchester City star Fernandinho on a free transfer.
Fernandinho has returned to the side who gave him his first opportunity in professional football. Aged 17, the Brazilian played for his boyhood club 72 times, scoring 14 goals and was a part of the team that finished runners-up of both the Brazilian first division (in 2004) and the Libertadores da America.
😍🌪️ Bem-vindo de volta, @fernandinho!
Welcome back, @fernandinho!
📸 José Tramontin/athletico.com.br #BemVindoFernandinho #WelcomeFernandinho pic.twitter.com/2MkzBmoWWX
— Athletico Paranaense (@AthleticoPR) June 27, 2022
He departed for Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of around £7 million. After eight impressive years in Ukraine where he managed to make 284 appearances and scored 53 goals along with six league titles and a UEFA Cup, Manchester City decided to bring for a fee of £34 million. A relatively unknown quantity in England even though he was really good playing for Shakhtar, the Brazilian managed to become one of the midfielders the Premier League has ever seen.
A career of nine seasons in England, he made a total of 338 appearances for Man City, featuring at least 33 times in every season he spent at the Etihad Stadium. The introduction of Pep in the blue half of Manchester proved to be a vital point in his career making a PFA Team of the Year appearance for the title-winning 2018-19. He almost led City to the summit of Europe but lost to Chelsea in Porto.
Even at the international level, Fernandinho has represented his national side 53 times and was an important part of his side’s victory in the 2019 COPA America.
On signing for his boyhood club Fernandinho said, “We had numerous proposals, from several different clubs, from Brazil and abroad. But the most sensible decision was to return home and try to give my best here at Athletico now.”
Athletico are now coached by World Cup winning coach Luis Felipe Scolari, who joined the side in May. The side are currently at the third spot trailing five points to leaders and reigning Copa Libertadores winners Palmeiras.
HAS MAN CITY SIGNED ANYONE AS A REPLACEMENT?
Manchester City have acted fast to sign Fernandinho’s replacement Kalvin Phillips. The Leeds United player is ready to be unveiled as a Citizen after both the clubs have agreed on a fee for the player with personal terms also agreed. The fee touted is £42m, the overall deal is close to £50m with add-ons.
Phillips started his career as a box-to-box midfielder but went under a positional change under former coach Marcelo Bielsa who asked him to play as a defensive midfielder. An impressive first season at Leeds United and an amazing UEFA Euros 2020 were he started every game that England played during the tournament all the way up to the final, where they were eventually beaten on penalties by tournament winners Italy which triggered a lot of interest in the Yorkshire born player.