Fabian Schar has confirmed he wants to stay at Newcastle United.
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The defender, who rarely seemed trusted by either Rafa Benitez or Steve Bruce, has established himself as a key player under Eddie Howe.
Of the 19 games since Howe was appointed in November, Schar has started all but one and his partnership with Dan Burn in the heart of defence is one of the major reasons why Newcastle are now likely to stay up. For a team who don’t exactly score many goals either, the Swiss international has proven reasonably prolific going forward too, scoring twice and registering two assists in the process.
In fact, the 30-year-old’s 19 appearances under Howe almost match his total haul under Benitez (28), highlighting his ever-increasing importance. Under Bruce meanwhile, only 31 of his 48 games came as a starter, with Howe clearly more willing to build his defence around the player.
What did Schar say about his future?
Currently, Schar’s contract runs (believed to be worth in the region of £40k-per-week according to SpotRac) out at the end of the season, while there has been reported transfer interest from teams across Europe.
Speaking to The Chronicle, however, the defender said: “I think I will know soon. I enjoy playing for Newcastle United under Eddie Howe. Hopefully, we can say more in a few weeks. But I’m very happy here. Newcastle are my first option.”
How does Schar differ from his teammates?
Hailed as “a fantastic footballer” by Howe, Schar brings something different to the Newcastle backline.
Indeed, of the club’s current central defenders, no one averages as many interceptions per game (1.4 via WhoScored) or as many key passes (0.3). Indeed, that would suggest the former Deportivo defender is slightly more proactive than his rivals in that position, able to turn possession over before playing the ball out from defence.
No one in the squad this season has averaged as many passes per game (41.3) and no outfield player attempts as many long passes per 90 minutes (5.2). Given Schar also ranks within the top three of clearances (4.1) too, it seems fair to suggest he has become one of Newcastle’s most important players.
Even if the club were to sign another defender in the summer – which the dual chase of Sven Botman and Diego Carlos suggests they are keen to – Schar deserves his place in the squad.