On transfer deadline day, Newcastle completed a deal to sign Federico Fernandez from Swansea City. The Argentine cost the Magpies £6million, brought in as cover for the injured Florian Lejeune.

Rafa Benitez had already signed Fabian Schar, but needed reinforcements after Lejeune was ruled out for the foreseeable future.

Since arriving, Fernandez has been a key player for Newcastle, but things could have been very different.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Signing Fernandez over Marlon Santos was a huge slice of luck

Benitez was desperate for a centre-back on deadline day, and one name they were linked with was Marlon Santos. A Brazilian defender, Santos was a loan target for the Magpies.

He was apparently keen on swapping Barcelona for Newcastle, but a move fell through with Santos unable to obtain a work permit.

While it was a blow at the time, that work permit failure was a blessing in disguise.

(Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

We don’t know how well Santos would have done in black and white, but surely he wouldn’t have exceeded Fernandez. The 29-year-old already had Premier League experience, and is an extra leader at the back for Newcastle.

As for Santos, he was an inexperienced option, having only played in France, Spain and Brazil at the time. Now aged 23, he’s on loan in Italy with Sassuolo, where the Black and Greens are performing well.

Newcastle would not be doing as well as they are had they not signed Fernandez on deadline day. At the time, missing out on Santos was bad news, but it allowed us to sign one of our players of the season.

There’s no way we would have signed both, so thank goodness we couldn’t get that work permit.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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