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La Liga outfit mark Newcastle and West Ham defenders Federico Fernandez and Fabian Balbuena as top summer targets

According to AS, Real Betis have marked Newcastle and West Ham defenders Federico Fernandez and Fabian Balbuena as their top targets to improve Manuel Pellegrini’s centre-back options.

Betis want to conclude deals for a new centre and right-back as soon as possible. The La Liga outfit are set to lose Aissa Mandi and Emerson Royal in the summer transfer window.

Sporting Director Antonio Cordon has several options in mind beyond Fernandez and Balbuena. But the Premier League duo stand out as they will become free agents at the end of the month.

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Betis admire Fernandez’s profile as the Argentine would vastly increase the quality in their side. Pellegrini is also after an experienced option who can add a forceful presence at the Benito Villamarin Stadium. While the 32-year-old stands out further as he is 6 ft 2, as well.

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The Andalusian outfit believe Fernandez can continue at the highest level but he has other options on the table. Newcastle are one, as the Toon will take up their one-year option to extend his contract before it expires (Chronicle).

Balbuena is also a player Pellegrini admires as he suits the Chilean’s ideal profile. The former West Ham manager was at the helm for his £6.5million (Sky Sports) move to London from Corinthians in 2018, too.

The Paraguayan’s physical strength is his standout attribute, but he has been out of favour under David Moyes. Balbuena only featured twice in the Premier League after losing his place in the Irons backline in December.

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Pellegrini was a huge believe in Balbuena’s ability during his time at West Ham which has not been replicated by Moyes. The Chilean stated ‘I trusted too much in what he can do’ (football.london) in 2019 after relying on him heavily.

The Real Betis boss could now offer Balbuena an escape route from West Ham, and allow the £40,000-per-week enforcer to get his career back on track. The 29-year-old will find a manager who is prepared to back him and a system he is familiar with.

Cordon faces a greater struggle to convince Fernandez to move to the Benito Villamarin Stadium, though. Newcastle activating their option to extend his contract would scupper hopes of a free transfer, while he is already a regular under Steve Bruce when fit.

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