Rafa Benitez signing thanks Newcastle United after completing deadline day move

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The defender was one of a number of transfer deadline day departures from St James Park.

Former Newcastle United defender Federico Fernandez expressed his gratitude to the Magpies hierarchy for authorising his deadline day move to Elche.

The former Argentina centre-back officially ended his four-year stay on Tyneside within the final hours of the summer transfer window after completing a deal to join the La Liga club on a permanent basis.

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Fernandez watched on from the substitutes bench as his new side fell to a 4-0 defeat at Villarreal on Sunday night and will now hope to make his debut when they host Athletic Bilbao this weekend.

Reflecting on the events of the last week, Fernandez thanked Newcastle for allowing the move to Spain to go ahead and looked forward to his time with his new club.

Quoted in Spanish outlet AS, the Rafa Benitez signing said: “I want to thank the club for this opportunity. I also want to mention Newcastle, where I have been very comfortable and where they treated me wonderfully to respect my decision to leave.

“Everything was given in the end and I am very happy to be here with Elche.

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“Now, let’s get to work because this has already started and we need to be fine.”

Fernandez was believed to have interest from at least two Championship clubs, with both Coventry City and Stoke City said to be keen on taking the centre-back on loan for the remainder of the season.

However, the call of La Liga and the chance to return to a league where he spent a short spell with Getafe just under a decade ago proved too much.

“It’s a different challenge, I like it,” he explained.

“This is soccer. I had been in the Premier League for eight years, where I gave everything.

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“I felt that a change would be good for me. The League I know because of my short time at Getafe. I’m not afraid of new challenges.

“In principle, we will be fighting with enthusiasm and desire to contribute and improve the team to save ourselves.”

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