Douglas reported that the former Magpies’ boss is a big admirer of the £43,000-a-week defender [Source: Spotrac] from his time in charge at St James’ Park.
“That may influence their thinking in January, with Fernandez a potential target for a number of clubs in Spain,” he wrote on the Chronicle website.
“Rafa Benitez, who is a big fan, may even look to take him to Dalian Yifang.”
The 30-year-old has struggled for game time this season, making three appearances off the bench in the Premier League.
Given the fact that Rafa is a big fan of Fernandez, added to only 23 minutes of Premier League action this term – it wouldn’t be a surprise should he move on from the North East this season. As an experienced player in England from his time with the Magpies and Swansea, the 30-year-old will surely have been expecting much more action under Bruce in this campaign. Fernandez would have to face the reality that he is down the pecking order at St James’ Park, after failing to stand out to his other defenders in past seasons. The Argentine made 17 appearances last season, and only averaged 0.8 tackles and 0.6 clearances per game according to WhoScored – stats that needed to be better for him to cement a spot in the starting lineup. At the same time, players such as Paul Dummett and Fabian Schar have gone to the next level in the heart of defence – something that put him further away from Bruce’s side.