West Ham have no fixture this weekend as the Premier League programme gives away to the first international break since the World Cup.
While Manuel Pellegrini will be itching to pick up the Hammers first points of the season to stop the rot, he will have to wait until the trip to Everton on 16th September for the opportunity.
One man who will not be part of Pellegrini’s squad this season is Edimilson Fernandes. He was loaned to Fiorentina, with Carlos Sanchez coming the other way.
He has made two Serie A appearances since making the move, and will be hoping to feature for his native Switzerland in the coming days, to show Pellegrini what he’s missing.
The Swiss have two matches during the international break, on Saturday 8th and Tuesday 11th September.
The first encounter is the country’s maiden UEFA Nations League match, hosting Iceland in Group 2 of Division A.
Then, Fernandes will return to England to face the Three Lions in a friendly at the King Power Stadium.
The midfielder will be hoping to get the opportunity to remind English fans what he can do, especially in light of West Ham’s current midfield struggles.
Will he play?
Fernandes is on the fringes of the Swiss setup. He was named in Vladimir Petkovic’s provisional 26-man squad for this summer’s World Cup, but was cut from the final 23.
He has just the three caps to his name, and must get past the likes of Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka to nail down a midfield berth.
Therefore, he is unlikely to feature in the competitive match against Iceland, but may get an opportunity in the more experimental friendly lineup, perhaps off the bench.
Who is he up against?
Fernandes may line up against a few familiar faces if he does get the nod.
First up, Iceland’s main playmaker is Everton star Gylfi Sigurdsson. Fernandes’ energy may be deployed to keep the former Swansea man quiet and get the Swiss off to a flier in the Nations League.
On Tuesday, he will obviously face Gareth Southgate’s World Cup heroes. There will be household names all over the pitch, but Fernandes is likeliest to be in close competition with Tottenham ace Dele Alli.
Alli did not enjoy the best World Cup individually so may be looking to prove his worth to Southgate once more. It may well fall to Fernandes to shackle him.
How can this help West Ham?
Based on their current performances, it looks as if Fiorentina got the better end of the deal in the swap between Sanchez and Fernandes.
Pellegrini needs energy in midfield, that much is clear. If Fernandes can impress in Serie A, and on the international stage, he may well bring him back next season – if possible.
Yet, if Fernandes can shackle the likes of Sigurdsson and Alli, it’ll only serve to make the fans wonder why he was offloaded.