Rafa Benitez reveals his view on Newcastle bargain buy
Yet the defender, signed from Swansea City in the summer for Â£6million, is now indispensable at the club.
Fernandez was outstanding in yesterday's 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
Salomon Rondon, signed on loan from West Bromwich Albion in the summer, scored both Newcastle's goals.
Fernandez was the least heralded of the club's signings, yet the 29-year-old – who signed a two-year deal at St James's Park – has started nine of United's first 12 Premier League games.
And fans have quickly taken to Fernandez, who started alongside fellow summer signing Fabian Schar against Bournemouth.
Asked if Â£6million Fernandez was a bargain, manager Rafa Benitez said: “Fede is a player with experience on the Premier League, like Salomon.
"We were looking for something that we were missing, maybe, last year.
“If they're fine, they can be positive for the players around them. That's what you are looking for, experience and young players with energy. You put those two together, and you have more chances to get points in games."
Fernandez reacted to the result on Twitter after the win, which lifted the club out of the relegation zone.
"What a win today," tweeted Fernandez. "Very proud of this team. Amazing support Toon Army."