Rafa Benitez says Fabian Schar was NOT his first-choice target.
Schar scored two goals in Newcastle United's 3-0 win over Cardiff City at St James's Park on Saturday.
The 27-year-old defender, signed from Deportivo La Coruna last summer for just over £3million, was outstanding as the club climbed out of the Premier League's relegation zone.
Schar, a player Benitez has followed for a number of years, wasn't at the top of Benitez's transfer hitlist.
However, United's manager, forced to sell to buy, was aware of a relegation clause in the Switzerland international's contract through his contacts in his native Spain.
“He cost 3.5m Euros," said Benitez. "I knew him when he was at Basel, but also when he was at Deportivo La Coruna.
"I have some friends there, and they told me about the (relegation) release clause, and we started analysing things.
"I would be lying if I said he was always the first target, but we knew he could come in and help.
"We knew he had experience and had some quality on the ball, especially with his right foot. He has done really well. We have some really good centre-backs."