The club currently have SIX highly capable centre-backs on the books in Lascelles, Schar, Clark, Lejeune, Dummett and Fernandez – and he’s been speaking about the latter’s future, with the Argentine’s contract set to expire at the end of the season as things stand.
It’s been revealed that we have an option to extend Fernandez’s contract by another year, but Douglas believes either he, Schar or Lejeune could leave to facilitate Steve Bruce’s expected switch to a four-man defence.
Here’s what he’s had to say during the Chronicle’s latest Q&A session:
‘As Ciaran Kelly reported a few weeks ago, Newcastle have the option to trigger an extra year in his contract. Talks have taken place but I think at the moment so much depends on the planning that is going to happen once (if!) United’s survival is guaranteed.
‘Newcastle have the potential to totally overhaul this squad in the next few years and I think there’s no chance of Steve Bruce running with the same number of top class centre backs United have this year – especially as he, at some point, wants to move away from five at the back.
‘Personally I feel one of Fabian Schar, Florian Lejeune or Fernandez could leave before the start of next season.‘
If Bruce is planning to move to a back four and could sacrifice a first-team centre-half as a result, I fear Fernanez might be the one to make way.
Not only is he older than both Schar and Lejeune, his current deal is due to expire this summer.
That said, he’s been arguably our most reliable defender (along with Clark) this season and has never let us down during his 18 months on Tyneside.
He deserves a new deal as much as anyone, but you can never predict what we’ll do when it comes to ageing players coming to the end of their contract..