As is stands, two of Newcastle United’s key players involved in the team’s recent good run of form are set to leave the club for nothing in the summer.
Defenders Federico Fernandez and Javier Manquillo have both been immense since returning from the fringes of the Magpies squad, but both could be poached in January unless Lee Charnley addresses each player’s contract situation.
Fernandez has contributed at both ends of the pitch since his return to the side and Manquillo impressed against the champions Man City – managing to keep Raheem Sterling quiet before laying on an assist for Allan Saint-Maximin at Sheffield United in midweek.
Just a short while ago, both players were forgotten men at St James’ Park, with Fernandez and Manquillo finding themselves down the pecking order and even out of Bruce’s 18-man squad at times earlier this season.
That said, the defensive duo have grasped recent opportunities presented to them with both hands and surely deserve new contracts to reward them for their reliability as squad players.
Fernandez will be 31 when his current deal expires, meaning any new deal could go against the club’s current recruitment policy, but it is hard to ignore the impact the Argentine has had on the team since returning to the fold. It’s reported that Steve Bruce is keen to keep the player at the club – and it’s no surprise given he’s been our most reliable defender in recent months.
Manquillo has stiff competition at right-back with DeAndre Yedlin and new singing Emile Krafth competing for the same starting berth, but one thing the Spaniard has over the other two is the ability to also play at left-back. Surely it would be unwise to lose a player for nothing who brings versatility to the squad – especially when he’s still just 25?
It might seem odd that we’re suddenly asking Ashley to hand the Spaniard a new deal less than 12 months after many saw him as a flop, however his performances in 2019 have been vastly improved, making it seem like a no brainer to give him an extension as a handy squad player.
The club hierarchy has a busy couple of weeks ahead of them in terms of player’s futures ahead of the January window, but tying down these 2 at the club beyond next summer would be a decent start for now.