Ryan Fredericks will be delighted with life at the moment. He has just won promotion with Fulham through the play-offs and is set to receive a much-improved contract as a result.
The right-back’s current deal runs out this summer and he has a strong hand to play when he enters negotiations with the Cottagers. They won’t want to lose him and the 25-year-old knows that several Premier League clubs are circling if he does become available.
Unsurprisingly, his first choice will be to stay at Fulham. Slavisa Jokanovic has built a very good squad at Craven Cottage and they will have a great chance of staying in the Premier League next season. However, he would be silly not to look at the other opportunities available to him and one looks to be very appealing.
The Chronicle reported on Tuesday that Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Fredericks, as Rafa Benitez wants to add another full-back to his squad to challenge DeAndre Yedlin.
The Magpies look to the American for attacking contributions as he is given license to run beyond Matt Ritchie at every opportunity. The first-choice right-winger prefers to cut inside on his left foot, which opens up space for an overlap.
Benitez will know the importance of signing a right-back who can contribute in the opposition half and Fredericks fits the bill.
This season, he contributed seven assists for Fulham and was regularly seen causing problems with his movement. In addition to his attacking quality, he has improved as a defender under Jokanovic and played a key role as the club climbed the league table in 2018.
Despite being a player that hasn’t proved himself at the top level, Fredericks has a lot of power this summer as he can choose where he plays football. Newcastle United would have to submit a good offer to tempt him away from Fulham, but there are plenty of reasons why the right-back may consider a switch.
The Magpies are one season ahead of Fulham and have a year of Premier League experience under their belt. They were much better after the turn of the year and managed to finish in the top ten.
If the club back Benitez this summer, they could be a force to be reckoned with. This is opposed to Fulham, who will be focused on surviving relegation first and foremost.
However, the main reason why Fredericks should consider Newcastle is Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard has proven that he is still one of the best coaches in the Premier League by getting the most out of a limited squad.
The defenders at St James’ Park have benefitted more than most, with Paul Dummett and Yedlin emerging as good top-flight full-backs. Meanwhile, Jamaal Lascelles is now regarded as a future England international.
Fredericks has developed a lot over the past two seasons at Fulham, but Benitez is a coach that could take his game to a whole new level. He would be foolish not to consider Newcastle if the interest reported is genuine.
A lot depends on whether the board at St James’ Park will back their manager. If they do, the Magpies will once again be seen as one of the most attractive Premier League destinations outside of the top six.