Former England international turned pundit Darren Bent feels Fabian Schar will be key to Newcastle United’s chances of Premier League survival.
Schar joined the Magpies on a three-year deal in the summer of 2018 after the St. James’ Park natives triggered a £3million release clause in his contact with Deportivo La Coruna (BBC), making the 27-year-old their fourth signing of the window under Rafa Benitez.
He was also a key part of the Switzerland side that reached the World Cup Round of 16 in Russia (TransferMarkt), and continued his fine form into his maiden Premier League campaign, where he made 24 appearances and ended the term as Newcastle’s third-best goalscorer with four.
It is defensively where Bent feels Schar will be vital to Newcastle’s hopes of securing another season of top-flight football, though, as the former Sunderland and Aston Villa striker sees the Swiss star as the Magpies’ best defender.
“Newcastle couldn’t afford to lose him because he’s a very, very good player. It was a good goal [to pull the Magpies level at home to 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.”
Schar was linked with a move away from the North East in the summer as a result of his efforts last season, with AC Milan credited with interest (Chronicle) along with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur (Mirror).
Bent labelling Schar as Newcastle’s best defender is not without reason, as the Swiss ace has been a mainstay of the Magpies’ first-team under Benitez and now Steve Bruce when fit, and continues to make a vital impact at both ends of the field.
Across his performances last season, he was able to record more successful (2.7) and attempted (3.9) tackles than any other Newcastle centre-half, according to data collected by WhoScored, and is currently leading both accounts after the opening four games of the current campaign (with 3.3 successful tackles from 4.3 attempts).
The 27-year-old also achieved the most interceptions (2.8) per ninety minutes last term and is currently bragging an improved 3.3 this season, along with the most blocked shots (1.0) and passes (1.8) having ranked second and first respectively last term.
Newcastle fans, would relegation be a concern without Schar in the side? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Newcastle notifications!