Newcastle United defender Federico Fernandez is attracting ‘strong interest’ from at least two European clubs, according to a report from The Northern Echo.
Fernandez has been allowed to talk to clubs since January, having entered the final six months of his contract at St James’ Park.
According to The Northern Echo, Bruce would like to keep hold of the centre-back but will likely struggle to persuade Mike Ashley to offer him a new contract. The Newcastle owner is said to be ‘notoriously reluctant’ to present new deals to players over 30, although Dwight Gayle may have bucked that trend.
The 32-year-old Argentine has made 21 appearances for the Magpies this season and 78 in total (via Transfermarkt).
Latest on Schar and Lejeune
Fabian Schar, who was sent off on his return from injury against Arsenal on Sunday, is thought to be more likely to stay.
Importantly, a clause in the Switzerland defender’s contract allows it to be extended for a further year if both parties agree. The Northern Echo stated that the club will look to strike that agreement before Schar heads to the European Championships with Switzerland.
Elsewhere, Florian Lejeune will be about to enter the final year of his term when he returns from his Alaves loan in the summer. Newcastle could put him up for sale to stave off the possibility of him leaving on a free transfer in 2022.
Transfer Tavern verdict
Fernandez is 32, so you can understand Ashley’s hesitancy in offering him a new contract, but might a two-year deal be in Newcastle’s interests?
If he were to walk away, they would then have to replace him, and that would further stretch what you’d think would be a limited budget after a year without crowds and reports of favouring frugality.
Fernandez has shown he can do a solid job, averaging 5.7 clearances and 1.4 tackles per game this season, and is clearly valued by the manager. Maybe the practical decision is to retain him, especially if he agrees to a decent reduction in his £47,300-per-week salary.
In other news, as one player potentially leaves Newcastle on a free, could another join?
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