Former England international Darren Bent has claimed that it was absolutely crucial that Newcastle United kept hold of centre back Fabian Schar this summer.
The Switzerland international has started the season in superb form for Steve Bruce’s side, highlighted by scoring the equaliser against Watford last time out, and Sky Sports pundit Bent is a big fan.
“Newcastle couldn’t afford to lose him because he’s a very, very good player. It was a good goal [v Watford],” he told Football Insider.
“If he can stay fit all season, that gives Newcastle a really good chance [of survival] because I think he’s their best defender.”
There’s no doubt that Schar is a top player who has been a rip-roaring success for the Magpies. He was a slightly under-the-radar signing when the club picked him up from Deportivo last summer, but he took to the Premier League like a duck to water and is now undoubtedly one of the better centre halves in the division. It’s certainly going to be vital for Newcastle to keep him fit all season long, because Florian Lejeune has shown a worrying susceptibility to injury throughout his time on Tyneside. As for Bent’s claim that Schar is Newcastle’s best defender, it probably comes down to what you like in a centre back. Do you like the physical prowess of Jamaal Lascelles, the die-hard dedication of Paul Dummett, or Schar’s classy ball-playing? However, the statistics, this season at least, would appear to support the latter. As per WhoScored.com, Schar beats out his fellow Magpies centre halves in average tackles and interceptions per game, while drawing the most offsides and making the joint most blocks. Not bad, eh?