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Report: Sunderland Make Offer For Portuguese Star

Has the much vaunted 'man with the keys to the house' been found in Turkey?

Manuel Fernandes tussles with Stoke's Glenn Whelan
Manuel Fernandes tussles with Stoke's Glenn Whelan
Scott Heavey

Despite signing nine players so far during this transfer window, most fans would argue that we still haven't filled our most important position. Namely, a central midfielder with vision who can make us tick.

Paolo Di Canio recently gave an interview where he echoed those thoughts, explaining;

In my opinion we need a specific player with specific characteristics in there.

Someone who brings the keys to the house - an intelligent player with fantastic ability.

Since that moment the phrase 'man with the keys' has been on everyone's lips, all wondering who that player may be? We have had names like Tom Huddlestone, Alfred Duncan, Zdravko Kuzmanović, Josuha Guilavogui, Raul Meireles and Stefan Johansen bandied about this summer without any of them looking particularly close to signing.

Reports out of Turkey suggest that we have finally settled on Manuel Fernandes to be the player with 'the keys to the house'. If the reports are to be believed, we have made a bid of £6.5m for the Besiktas midfielder and are prepared to offer the player £40,000 per week.

The player himself has also reportedly told Besiktas that he wants to leave them to join Paolo Di Canio's revolution.

27-year-old Fernandes certainly fits the bill as a playmaker, he has fantastic vision and passing range and is able to dictate the pace of games for his team. Despite his talent not being in doubt, he has never fully lived up to his potential but that hasn't stopped him shining in Turkey, where just last season he scored 8 goals and had 12 assists in 28 games.

Fernandes has just one year left on his contract, so despite the Besiktas president saying they want him to sign a new contract, any substantial offer will surely be tempting with the player able to leave for free in a year.