Did Martinez miss a trick? Ex Everton star nets screamer in Moscow

Everton Goodison 2

Manuel Fernandes enjoyed two loan spells with Everton in the mid-2000s and looks sharp if his latest goal in Russia is anything to go by.

Roberto Martinez may have missed out on the opportunity to bring a former Everton favourite and free transfer bargain to Goodison Park, if the goalscoring antics of Manuel Fernandes are anything to go by.

The Spaniard was never in the race to recruit the 28-year-old but it could yet prove to be a chance missed if the early season form of the Portuguese midfielder is a valid demonstration of his abilities.

Signed by Lokomotiv Moscow on a free transfer from Turkish side Besiktas over the summer, Fernandes was loaned out to the Toffees on two separate occasions.

In the first instance, back in 2007, the then-promising Benfica midfielder excelled in the Premier League, with Everton manager David Moyes keen to sign the player on a permanent basis.

But Fernandes had other ideas, moving to Valencia in La Liga as part of an €18 million deal later that year. It proved to be a disastrous move, with the Portugal international returning to the Toffees half a season later after struggling for form in Spain.

But Everton ultimately passed up the opportunity to sign the player on a permanent basis at the end of the 2008 campaign, with Fernandes spending a couple more difficult years at Valencia before moving to Besiktas in 2011.

Now in Russia, the midfielder has taken something of a brave step to move to Moscow and a league that has endured problems with racism in the past.

But he has already adapted well to life in Eastern Europe and certainly endeared himself to his new teammates and fans at the weekend with a spectacular opening goal in Lokomotiv’s 2-0 win over Arsenal Tula.

Meeting a cross from Renat Yanbayev, Fernandes fired home with an acrobatic volley that helped the Moscow giants to an important early season victory.

Once surplus to requirements and in danger of falling on the scrapheap of European football, the ex-Everton man may now be on the road to a major comeback.

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