First signed by David Moyes in a loan deal from Benfica in the January 2007 transfer window, Portuguese international midfielder Fernandes quickly impressed the Goodison faithful as his new team made a successful assault on UEFA Cup qualification.
A quick, physically imposing player, Fernandes had initially been billed by his compatriot, Jose Mourinho, as a defensive midfielder like Claude Makele, but it soon became apparent that his strengths lay in going forward.
A box-to-box player, Fernandes showed a wide range of passing – his speciality was a quick slide-rule pass that sometimes caught out his less gifted team-mates – and a formidable shot. His bullet from the edge of the Manchester United penalty area in April 2007 almost ripped the Gwladys Street goal net from its stanchions.
At the end of the 2006/07 season, Moyes tried to sign Fernandes on a permanent deal. This was complicated by the fact that Fernandes was partly owned by the Global Sports Agency (GSA), a consortium that bought the rights to promising young players. Partial ownership is banned by the Premier League, so Everton were forced to enter complex negotiations with GSA and Benfica. Just as a £12million transfer seemed to be agreed in August 2007, Fernandes walked away and joined Valencia to shock and consternation.
HOWEVER, Valencia were in a state of financial and on-the-field turmoil and when Ronald Koeman became coach, shortly after Fernandes’ arrival at the Mestalla, the midfielder was frozen out. A second loan move was agreed in January 2008, but despite being forgiven his earlier snub, Fernandes failed to impress in his second spell at Goodison.