Eddie Howe talks down Newcastle move for Enzo Fernandez: 'The fee might be lumpy'

Enzo Fernandez of Argentina poses for a photo with the FIFA Young Player award during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Image credit: Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Eddie Howe has dismissed speculation that Newcastle United could be in the market for Argentina and Benfica star Enzo Fernandez, saying the youngster’s price tag would be ‘quite lumpy’.

The 21-year-old was named Young Player of the Tournament at the World Cup after playing a leading role in Argentina claiming their first title since 1986.

Fernandez, who only joined Benfica from River Plate in July, has inevitably caught the eye of clubs across Europe.

BBC pundit and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer joked that the midfielder would ‘look good in black and white’ after Sunday’s final, and Howe was asked what he made of the comment.

"I apologise to Alan, I think I was on the other channel,” Howe said.

"I'm aware of (Fernandez) and I know him, but I think the transfer fee might be quite lumpy.”

Howe also dismissed the notion that he would be tempted to make new signings on the back of an impressive World Cup campaign.

"From a recruitment perspective, I don't think you ever just analyse the World Cup and sign a player off the back of those performances,” he said.

“There's a huge body of work that goes into signing a player, it’s never off four weeks. There will be a period of work that goes into that.

“That’s not to say we won't use the World Cup as a recruitment tool to look at players, but solely on those performances? We wouldn't do that."

Newcastle return to competitive action against Bournemouth in the League Cup on Wednesday, before resuming their Premier League campaign away to Leicester on Boxing Day.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.