With Manchester City preparing to bid farewell to David Silva, as he approaches the end of his contract, former Blues captain Andy Morrison says Fernandinho is the “standout candidate” to inherit the armband.
The Etihad Stadium saw one talismanic leader head for the exits in the summer of 2019, as Vincent Kompany brought his 11-year association with the club to a close.
Silva, as another long-serving stalwart, inherited skipper duties from the City legend. The World Cup winner will also be severing ties with the reigning Premier League champions, though, at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.
That means a key role will be opened up once more, with Morrison suggesting that Pep Guardiola should stick with a philosophy that has served him well to this point and look to another experienced head for on-field inspiration.
Morrison, who captained City to a dramatic Second Division play-off final win in 1999 during his time at Maine Road, told the Manchester Evening News: “It's not just what you see on the pitch on a matchday, it's how players carry themselves, that humility.
“Being humble is a trait. I don't know the characters of the players to say 'he's got outstanding captain's qualities' but I've always been incredibly fond of Fernandinho.
“He's not just an outstanding footballer but the way he conducts himself. He's got such a strong mentality and he's a proper man. When I look at him, he's a player everyone at the club would follow, the players would follow him.
“I've often said it's not about the title of captain that players follow, it's the courage. Fernandinho's got that in abundance and for me he would be a standout candidate.”
Fernandinho, who joined City in 2013, has made 304 appearances for the club – helping them to three Premier League titles and a historic domestic treble in 2019.
He has been a model of consistency throughout his time in England, filling a variety of defensive and midfield roles while also taking the armband when others have been missing.
Morrison added on the hard-working Brazilian: “He's been incredible. I'm not sure how long he's been at the club now, but I spoke very early on about the strength he brought and over the last two, three years every pundit is talking about him being one of the best holding midfielders in world football. I said that seven, eight years ago, just how good he was.
“It's nice that he's now getting the praise he absolutely deserves. He is an absolutely incredible footballer. His intelligence, his reading of the game, he's seconds ahead of anybody else. We talk about David Silva, [Sergio] Aguero, but Fernandinho's always been my favourite player at the club.”
While Fernandinho will be sticking around for at least one more year, having committed to an extension through to 2021, Morrison expects City to dip back into the transfer market at the next opportunity and add even more quality to their ranks.
He said: “With a club the size of City, the expectations are so great now. We've got a manager we want to keep going forward, so we've got to go out and target the best players.
“We've got to find a way of getting them to be able to keep the appetite of the manager. He wants to go out and win the Champions League, the Premier League, he wants to win cups.
“So targeting the best players out there and available and always looking to improve in every area. That's irrelevant of whether they are left-wing, centre-back, left-back, if a player is available and can improve us, and working within a structured budget, we have to show the manager we're working hard to bring in the very best players.”