Eddie Howe is pushing for the club to offer Fabian Schar a new contract, according to The Athletic.
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The Swiss international has been one of the revelations of Howe’s turnaround.
Afforded only two starts prior to the 44-year-old’s appointment in November, the 30-year-old has established himself as a key figure ever since. In fact, the only game he sat out was the 4-0 loss at home to Manchester City in December, the joint-heaviest defeat of the new era.
Currently, Schar’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season and, although new defensive recruits are surely likely to arrive over the course of the summer, Howe is believed to be “pushing” for PIF decision-makers on Tyneside to offer the defender a new deal.
According to SpotRac data, Schar earns in the region of around £40k-per-week.
How well has Schar played this season?
Seemingly rarely trusted by either Rafa Benitez or Steve Bruce in a central defensive pairing, Schar has excelled alongside January signing Dan Burn.
During the three games they’ve played together, the team have conceded only once. Granted, that is a reasonably small sample size but some of Schar’s underlying statistics are also impressive.
WhoScored data notes that no Newcastle player to have appeared in more than four games averages as many interceptions per game as him (1.5) while he also ranks within the squad’s top three for clearances over the same period (4.1).
Amazingly, only Allan Saint-Maximin has contributed more assists than him this season too and his ability on the ball was evident in the manner in which Schar set-up Joe Willock for his goal away at Brentford on Saturday.
What has Howe said about Schar?
Speaking back in December, Howe talked highly of Schar’s ability.
“I have been an admirer of Fabian from afar for a long, long time,” he said (via The Chronicle).
“I think he’s a fantastic footballer.
“He fits my mould as to what I want for a centre-back.
“He can handle the ball, he’s very creative.
“He has also shown his defensive resilience and mentality to not want to concede.
“Fabian has defended really well and of course that is every defender’s first port of call.”