By Michael Brown

12th Mar, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Ex-midfielder makes Newcastle contract claim after official update

Michael Brown claims that Newcastle United will be looking to agree new contracts with their experienced players after tying Federico Fernandez down for another year. 

The former Leeds and Tottenham midfielder, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, claims that manager Steve Bruce needs to keep the core of his squad together if he is to improve them moving forward.

The Magpies confirmed earlier this week that they had triggered an option in the Spanish centre-back’s contract to extend his stay on Tyneside until next summer.

The 31-year-old has established himself as a first-team regular under Bruce, with injuries to the likes of Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett helping his cause.

Brown insists that keeping players like Fernandez as part of the squad is important, admitting he thought they looked like relegation candidates at the start of the season.

Brown told Football Insider: “He’s done well and that’s the thing – Steve Bruce will be looking to get that clarity, get that team that we’ve seen.

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“Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey – new contracts also – so they’ll be looking to tie good players up, that’s what they’ll want to try and do.

“They’ll want to build, build a squad that can be a little bit better than they were at the start of the season when they looked like they were relegation contenders.”

Fernandez arrived at St James’ Park from Swansea back in 2018 and has battled it out with the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune for game time.

He has played a total of 25 times across all competitions this year, scoring important goals in the wins over West Ham and Southampton.

In other Newcastle United news, Darren Bent has made a bold claim about Dwight Gayle ahead of the clash against Sheffield United.