‘Bargain’ Rafa Benitez signing makes ‘fantastic’ Newcastle United and Eddie Howe claim
The bargain signing has more than played his part in an impressive year at St James Park.
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Newcastle United defender Fabian Schar has hailed the ‘fantastic’ transformation that has taken place at St James Park over the last 12 months.
The Swiss star has become one of United’s best bargain signings over the last few years after moving to Tyneside in a £3m deal from Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna during the summer of 2018. However, doubts were cast over his long-term future with the club when he started just two of the opening 11 games of last season.
The PIF-led takeover of the Magpies and the subsequent appointment of Eddie Howe as successor to former manager Steve Bruce proved to be pivotal in Schar’s season as he went on to play an integral role in United’s surge away from the relegation zone during the second half of the season.
The momentum has continued into the current campaign and Schar headed off on World Cup Finals duty with Switzerland knowing he would return to a United side sat firmly in the battle for a place in Europe next year.
A firm favourite of Howe, who has admitted he tried to sign the centre-back during his time as Bournemouth manager, Schar is now committed to the Magpies until the summer of 2024. Reflecting on a transformative 12 months for his own career, the 31-year-old hailed Howe for his part in the rejuvenation of fortunes and expressed his delight at the cohesion and enthusiasm around the club and the city.
“It’s quite amazing the changes the new club owners and our new coach, Eddie Howe, have made,” he told Swiss news outlet Wiler Nachrichten.
“We play attractive football and are currently third in the Premier League. The cohesion in our team and the enthusiasm in our stadium and in the city are fantastic. In England, the season continues immediately without interruption. Next Monday, 26 December, we have our first championship game after the World Cup. Of course, we want to confirm our season so far and stay at the top of the table. For me personally, I also hope that the rest of the season will be as positive as the first 14 games.”
Schar will hope to be named in the United starting lineup when they return to Premier League action with a tough-looking visit to Leicester City on Boxing Day.