He was our ninth summer signing but without having made many fi rst team appearances, you may not know much about Edimilson Fernandes. So let me bring you up to speed about this exciting, young attacking midfi elder, who signed for £5.5m from Swiss side FC Sion.
Edimilson Fernandes Ribeiro was born in Sion, Switzerland on 15 April 1996 and is of Portuguese and Cape Verdean descent. Th e 20-year-old is 6ft 3in and wears the number 31 shirt for West Ham, last worn by striker Enner Valencia during the 2014/15 season. Football is certainly in the blood with Fernandes’ three cousins all playing in the Premier League at some point in their careers.
Firstly, there is former Everton and Portsmouth midfielder Manuel Fernandes, then there was former Manchester City midfielder Gelson Fernandes and finally another midfielder, former Sunderland player Cabral. Edimilson joined his hometown club of FC Sion at the age of 11 and made his first team debut just six years later at the age of 17.
He went on to play over 60 times for the first team and he lost just one of the nine Swiss Cup ties he played in and also scored in the 2015 final victory over FC Basel. And aft er notching two assists on his European debut, it’s not hard to see why FC Sion’s president once claimed he was ‘unsellable’.
Fernandes played every minute of FC Sion’s Europa League campaign last season. They finished second in the table, one point behind group winners Liverpool. Sadly for Fernandes and his teammates, FC Sion were knocked out by Portuguese side Sporting Braga in the last 32, but this was most certainly worthwhile experience for the youngster.
Edimilson made his international debut earlier this year in a 1-1 draw against England. Just a few weeks ago he made his second start, which earnt him a pretty impressive goal against Kazakhstan, in a 3-0 win. His next appearance could be away to Norway on 7 October, in the final European Under-21 Championship qualifier.
Although Fernandes is still young, he definitely has a lot of valuable experience that West Ham could certainly call upon. Depending on how our season goes with injuries etc, will determine how oft en we get to see him, but he is undoubtedly an exciting prospect and I look forward to seeing him play for the first team in the near future.