DeAndre Yedlin improved drastically in the second half of last season, but Newcastle can make their defence even tougher with a move for Russia right back Mario Fernandes.
The heart of Newcastle’s incredible surge up the table last season was their defence. While the form of the likes of Ayoze Perez, Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey certainly played its part, the Magpies are at their best when they are keeping clean sheets, which is why they should move for Fernandes.
The Brazilian born defender now has eight caps for Russia, and his most recent performance against Spain might just be his best of the lot.
Spain certainly weren’t at their best as the hosts sent them packing on Sunday, but it still took some incredible performances in the Russian defence to keep them out, and Fernandes was the pick of the bunch.
The 27 year-old, who plays his club football for CKSA Moscow, touched the ball 83 times in the dramatic win, far more than any other player on his team. This is because they trust him with the ball, and throughout the competition he has been their best attacking outlet down the right flank.
While he can be extremely threatening flying down the right flank, Sunday was all about defending for the hosts, and the CSKA man showed he is excellent at that too.
Despite Spain forcing loads of attacks down Russia’s right hand side, Fernandes stood tall and answered every question they threw at him, making an incredible eight clearances.
He stopped the likes of Marco Asensio and Jordi Alba on multiple occasions, making two impressive tackles and three vital interceptions. He also showed his physical side, winning two aerial duels.
In short, Yedlin has improved massively under Benitez, but Fernandes is more solid defensively and has a better final ball when he gets the chance to drive forward.
The CSKA man, valued at £14.4m by Transfermarkt, would bring leadership, experience and decisiveness to the right side of Newcastle’s defence, and make the Magpies even more impenetrable than they were in the second half of last season.
So, Newcastle fans, would you like to see a move for Fernandes? Who else has impressed you at the World Cup? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…