Why top clubs could be interested in Fabian Schar but not Jamaal Lascelles
Fabian Schar has been Newcastle’s man of the moment.
His all round form at the back and helping to instigate attacks has been increasingly recognised.
Then three goals in the past two months has only heightened his profile, especially when being awarded Premier League goal of the month for February, thanks to that 30 yard stunner against Burnley.
The statistics really back up his claims of potentially being Newcastle’s player of the season.
In his 18 Premier League games, Newcastle have picked up 31 points.
When Fabian Schar hasn’t been involved, Newcastle have gained only three points in 12 games.
After accumulating 10 bookings in only 18 games, Newcastle now have to do without a suspended Fabian Schar for the trips to Bournemouth and Arsenal. It is often only when players are missing that you find out their true worth, hopefully it won’t impact too much on the team.
Indeed, yellow cards appear to be the defender’s big weakness, picking up another 10 last season in 25 La Liga appearances as Deportivo were relegated.
This allowed Rafa Benitez to buy Fabian Schar for only £3m as he was tipped off about a relegation clause.
Although the Newcastle boss happily admitted recently that it ended up being more of a signing to fit his very limited budget, rather than a player he really valued…
“I knew him when he was at Basel but also when he was at Deportivo La Coruna.
“I have some friends there and they told me about the [relegation] release clause and we started analysing things.
“I would be lying if I said he was always the first target…
“But we knew he could come in and help.
“We knew he had experience and had some quality on the ball.
“He has done really well and we have some really good centre-backs.”
Often signings fail despite big expectations but occasionally it works the other way and Fabian Schar has been outstanding, surely an automatic first choice now for the manager.
The Swiss international is the one central defender who really gives the defence a different kind of player, especially in Rafa’s now preferred three centre-back formation.
Florian Lejeune can pass it out well from the back but Schar can do that and also bring the ball out from the backline, something Lejeune and the rest aren’t suited to.
As the wing-backs stretch the pitch and Newcastle play it around the back/midfield, often at some point, the opportunity will present itself and Fabian Schar will quickly dribble the ball 30 or 40 yards up the pitch, turning defence into an attacking threat in seconds.
It is this ability on the ball and way he can help the attacking side of things, that for me does give some credibility to recent reports claiming top clubs are now watching the 27 year old.
Both Arsenal and Tottenham have been named as clubs who are scouting the Newcastle defender and you can see why.
Vastly experienced at international level with Switzerland in World Cups and European Championships, plenty of Champions League matches when at Basel, plus now showing he can do it in the Premier League and at the right kind of age.
I’m not wishing at all on Fabian Schar leaving but I can see that he does have the attributes that a top team might want in a central defender.
The simple fact is that for the top six clubs, due to dominating possession in most games, they want/need defenders who are comfortable on the ball. They spend more time with the ball, rather than defending.
I really rate Jamaal Lascelles but I can see why all of the claimed interest from top clubs didn’t go anywhere, as well as why he is still overlooked by England.
I think he deserves a call up, or at least did when on top form in the past, but he isn’t great on the ball and that is a big turn-off for the top six and England.
Lascelles has improved on the ball these past 18 months in the Premier League but there is a glass ceiling on it, he can only improve up to a certain point. He complements our other options at the moment because Lejeune and Schar are good with the ball.
However, I don’t think that would work for teams at the top.
Until Mike Ashley sells up, we are always going to be nervous about losing the best players due to a lack of ambition at the club.
However, it is just a fact of life that if your players are doing well then they will make headlines in transfer stories ahead of the next window.
A far better scenario than having nobody worth a mention…
What we need of course is Ashley to go and Rafa Benitez to be backed by new owners who will value the manager and allow him to build on this basis of what could be a very good team in the making.
Convince the likes of Dubravka, Schar, Lejeune, Longstaff, Almiron and others that their long-term future lies at St James Park, get Rondon on a permanent deal and bring in other better players to raise the quality of the team further.
We live in hope.
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