In focus: Hernanes

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Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked with a move for Lazio’s Brazilian midfielder Hernanes this summer – could he be a Premier League success?


Most recently, reports have suggested the former Sao Paulo midfielder is angling for a move to the Gunners, though it is likely a number of clubs will be interested in his future.


The 26-year-old can play in a number of attacking-midfield and forward positions, but he is probably best deployed in a central playmaking role behind the strikers or as a deep-lying forward.


He has fantastic technique and so could fit into all three sides in one way or another but Liverpool are probably the side in greater need for his type of player.


Hernanes was talked up as a possible future superstar as little as three years ago and he has been living up to his reputation more and more as his time with Lazio has gone on.


A highly skilful player, Hernanes does not only use either foot proficiently, he has the ability to both dribble and shoot with either foot.


While not being exceptionally fast, Hernanes does have good acceleration and can exploit this effectively due to a talent for beating defenders with his quick feet.


A classic Brazilian playmaker, he seems to glide over the pitch and has the ability for a well weighted through ball.


Liverpool’s current system uses two wide men, with one (Jordan Henderson at the moment) staying quite narrow and the other (usually Stewart Downing) playing wide in the more traditional sense, while Luis Suarez drifts in and around the area to cause problems.


Hernanes can play any of these roles but is probably better suited to the narrower wide man position, where he would have the space to take defenders on, or drift inside to drive centrally at the goal.


While not exactly being prolific, the Brazil international does pitch in with the odd goal and has an exceptionally powerful right foot.


Rafael van der Vaart’s central role in Harry Redknapp current side would suit Hernanes’ skills best, but he is able to play as comfortably in a deeper, Luka Modric-esque position.


His adaptability, coupled with a high technical level, means he can operate effectively in a more fluid system like the one Arsene Wenger uses at Emirates Stadium.


The Frenchman has recently been using Yossi Benayoun and Aaron Ramsey in a similar way to Dalglish has used Henderson at Liverpool and Hernanes could fit into that role nicely, although a more central position in the midfield would allow him to have greater effect on a game.


An attack minded player, Hernanes is similar to Samir Nasri but a bit more of a physical presence and is very solid on the ball, so he should have no trouble with the athletic and physical aspects of the Premier League.


Hernanes is also a fantastic set-piece taker and is dangerous from free-kicks around the area with an ability to use power or guile equally as effectively.


There is no doubt that any of the three teams would be making a useful signing by recruiting him and, in today’s market, is not exceptionally expensive at the reported £16million.


Arsenal may have no room for Hernanes if Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby can recover sufficiently from their respective injury troubles, while Tottenham may not be able to offer regular football if Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale stay at White Hart Lane.


Anfield would probably be where he would play the most but a lack of Champions League football could be a problem, what with Lazio third in Serie A and pushing for the final qualification place from Italy.

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