Dwight Gayle has also signed a new deal, while the club has taken up options to extend the contracts of Fabian Schar and Paul Dummett. All but Schar, on holiday following Switzerland’s Euro 2020 campaign, have returned for pre-season training.
The most significant deals were those handed to Fernandez and Murphy.
Fernandez, arguably the club’s most consistent defender in recent years, was out of contract, and Steve Bruce simply couldn’t afford to lose a player of his experience.
United have previously been reluctant to hand deals to player in their 30s, and Fernandez is 32. Steve Bruce, presumably, had to push for resolution given Fernandez’s importance to his team.
Bruce loaned Murphy out in his first season at the club, but the winger’s performances in pre-season last year convinced him that there was a place for him in his squad.
Murphy, a boyhood Newcastle fan, impressed as a right wing-back in the final two months of last season, and, importantly, the 26-year-old’s best years are ahead of him.
The deal for Gayle is more curious, in a footballing sense, given that he was a bit-part player in a season, 2020/21, when Callum Wilson missed a fair amount of football through injury.
That said, Gayle is still a valuable commodity given his record in the Championship, and the club has stopped him leaving for nothing.
As such, United fans still will wonder what the future holds for Gayle, whose goals took the club back into the Premier League four years ago.
The extensions for out-of-contract Schar and Dummett were no-brainers for the club. Schar will certainly attract interest this summer, and his future is still seemingly in the balance.
Dummett, meanwhile, looks to have a longer-term future at his hometown club after recovering from a wretched 2020 which saw him sidelined for most of the year with hamstring problems. The 29-year-old hit form in a late-season run in Bruce’s side as a left-sided central defender.
There’s a lot left to be done at Newcastle before the new season starts next month, but securing Fernandez and Murphy on new deals is a welcome start.