Why Newcastle United should go for Mario Fernandes in January
Back in May, the Daily Mail had claimed that Newcastle United were interested in signing CSKA Moscow right-back, Mario Fernandes. However, a deal didn’t go through and the Magpies moved in to sign Emil Krafth from Ligue 1 side Amiens in the summer.
Emil Krafth has been nothing but a disaster for Newcastle United if judged by his performances so far. The Swede has royally struggled to cope up with the pace, physicality and intensity of Premier League football, which has seen him commit silly errors at the back.
Even though it is early days, Krafth hasn’t shown any signs that would fill Newcastle fans with promise. Other than Krafth, Steve Bruce has DeAndre Yedlin and Javier Manquillo as options at right-back.
Yedlin has recently returned from injury and gone straight into Bruce’s starting XI. Manquillo, meanwhile, hasn’t been a consistent performer at the club and is good as a squad option.
Newcastle’s performances overall haven’t been great this season, with Bruce’s side mustering just two wins out of 10 games. The pressure is mounting on Bruce, who has an uphill task of improving on Newcastle’s 13th-placed finish in the Premier League this season.
If he manages to turn things around and help the Magpies climb the table, the board must definitely back him with funds in January.
While signing a striker will be Bruce’s priority in January, he simply cannot ignore upgrading his options at right-back.
To put things into perspective, the Newcastle boss should offload one of Yedlin, Krafth or Manquillo in January and replace the player with Mario Fernandes.
Fernandes, 29, has been a mainstay in defence for CSKA this season in the Russian top-flight, making 14 appearances and bagging two goals and as many assists. He enjoyed a successful World Cup for hosts Russia last summer as they reached the quarter-final stage, before crashing out to Croatia on penalties.
The 29-year-old has played in Russia for almost seven years now following a move from Gremio in 2012, meaning he may well be open to testing himself in one of Europe’s top leagues.
The Russia international is a speed merchant that loves to bomb forward into attack and got nine assists under his belt last season.
Fernandes can play as a right-back, right wing-back and right midfielder but he thrives more in a wing-back role, something that’ll make him perfectly suited to Bruce’s 5-4-1 system. He has proven himself in Russia, whilst bagging solid experience in Europe as well.
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He has all the traits needed for a modern-day wing-back and the Brazil-born Russian international would be a straight upgrade over both Krafth and Manquillo.
Thus, Newcastle must rekindle their interest in Fernandes during the winter transfer window.