Newcastle United defender Florian Lejeune faces an uphill battle to get back into the starting XI, with summer signing Federico Fernandez emerging as one of the only positives from the season so far.
As reported by The Daily Mail, the Frenchman is nearing a shock first-team comeback after initially being ruled out of action for around a year.
Lejeune sustained a knee injury back in July, and was supposed to miss a large chunk of the 2018/19 season.
But it would appear the surgeon Rafa Benitez recommended to the player has worked some magic.
Apparently Benitez rates him as the best knee surgeon in Europe, and now he could have access to Lejeune again as early as next month.
Lejeune, an £8.7 million signing from Spanish outfit Eibar in 2017, has made 24 Premier League appearances for the Magpies so far.
Lejeune faces uphill battle to reclaim starting berth
Lejeune’s early return is great news for Newcastle fans, but he might struggle to get back playing regularly for a while.
Summer signing Federico Fernandez has been excellent for the Magpies at the back since his £6 million move from Swansea City.
The Spaniard, who worked with Benitez at Napoli, has been the club’s shining light in what has been a very tough season so far.
He has arguably been Newcastle’s best player, and appears to have nailed down his spot alongside captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Even more ominously for Lejeune, Fabian Schar is also beginning to knock at Benitez’s door.
He was voted man of the match after the 1-0 victory over Watford last weekend.