Why Federico Fernadez could be a key player for Newcastle United this season
As was largely expected, the summer window was anything but a smooth ride for Newcastle. Owner Mike Ashley failed to provide adequate financial backing for Rafael Benitez, leaving the Spaniard to make the best of whatever little budget that was sanctioned (h/t Sky Sports).
The Magpies did manage to secure some decent signings over the summer, signing goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on a permanent deal. After all, the player had impressed on loan in the second half of the previous term. Ki Sung-yeung was signed on a free transfer, while defensive reinforcements arrived in the form of Fabian Schar. The arrivals of Salomon Rondon, Kenedy (both on loan) and Yoshinori Muto certainly added firepower to their attack.
However, the Newcastle defence required greater reinforcing despite the presence of captain Jamaal Lascelles and the experienced Ciaran Clark to go with Schar. Florian Lejeune has ruptured his cruciate ligament, as per The Sun, meaning he could be set for a lengthy spell out on the sidelines. Meanwhile, the Magpies have also cashed in on the talented Chancel Mbemba, offloading him to Porto this summer.
In Fernandez, Newcastle have secured a player who will push the likes of Lascelles and Clark for the starting berth in Benitez’s line-up. The 29-year-old defender has worked with Benitez during his time with Napoli a few years ago. So, Benitez should have a solid idea of what to expect from Fernandez this season.
Furthermore, Fernandez was one of Swansea’s better players last season. He featured in 34 games across all competitions for the Welsh outfit, registering a solitary goal and an assist. Unfortunately for the Swans, his efforts could not save them from relegation.
Fernandez has been in England for four years now, having joined the Swans from Napoli back in 2014. He has featured in 117 Premier League games over the past four seasons, meaning he should have a fair idea of what life is like in the English top-flight.
An old-school defender who often relies on his defensive nous and positioning, the Argentine has the ability to dislodge the current first-choice centre-backs at Newcastle. At 29 years of age, he is entering the peak years of his playing career and given his experience and know-how of the Premier League, Fernandez should prove to be a great addition for the Tynesiders.