Yesterday Minnesota United had an unknown trialist at training. The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter revealed the player to be Fernando Bob. The Brazilian midfielder provides an intriguing shake-up at the heart of the Loons XI.
Minnesota United’s mystery trialist has been revealed as journeyman midfielder Fernando Bob. According to reports, the club is already interested in signing the player and could do so by the end of the week.
So, who is Fernando Bob and why do the Loons want to sign him?
Well, the 30-year-old Brazilian would have one of the more impressive resumes on Minnesota United’s roster, with 127 career appearances in the Brazilian top flight and 216 appearances throughout all competitions while in the Brazilian top flight.
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Bob, who last played for Brasileiro Serie A side Ponte Preta on loan from fellow top-flight side Internacional, where he played 1,800 minutes for the Campinas-based club last season, has been out of contract for the last two weeks and was likely recommended to Minnesota United by his countryman Ibson, who also has a lot of experience in the Brazilian first division.
While with Ponte Preta last season, Fernando Bob was named to the 2017 Campeonato Paulista Team of the Year, which also included players like Christian Cueva, Felipe Melo, Yerry Mina, and Fagner. Though not a regular for Ponte Preta in league play, Bob being named to the same team as those players is a promising sign for Minnesota, as he stood out among the very best in the talent-loaded Sao Paulo State League.
So, what would this do to the look of the team?
Fernando Bob is a true number six, a deep-lying midfielder who breaks up play and instigates attacks from deep, which is something that the Loons have been searching for since Sam Cronin began having issues with concussions.
If the Brazilian can provide a solid defensive presence in the midfield for the Loons, it could elevate the team to a level that fans haven’t yet seen. The rest of the team has really improved since we last saw Cronin and much of the narrative surrounding this team has focused on what it would look like when Cronin returns. Well, now we might get the answer.
Bob’s arrival would also allow Finnish midfielder Rasmus Schuller to roam forward more and take on more of the duties of a traditional number eight, rather than having to play deeper to cover for Ibson. That’s not to say that Schuller hasn’t done well as the holding midfielder, but he’s more suited for a box-to-box role, and him being able to play that role more often would really help connect the defense with the attack.
Will Fernando Bob end up in Minnesota? Can he be the defensive force in midfield that the club has been searching for? He is certainly an intriguing player and it will be interesting to see how he changes the play of the team if he does sign on the dotted line for the Loons. Keep a close eye on this one, that’s for sure.