Newcastle recently appointed Eddie Howe as the club’s new manager after sacking Steve Bruce last month following the poor start to the Premier League season.
The ex-Bournemouth head coach is now tasked with leading the Magpies out of the relegation zone and to safety by the end of the season.
They are currently 19th in the Premier League table and are the only team in the entire division yet to win a match as it stands. With the January transfer window well over a month away, Howe will need to get the best out of the current squad in the coming weeks.
One player who Howe could look to unlock is Switzerland international Fabian Schar. The Magpies have had a howler with the defender over the last two years and the former Cherries boss could attempt to get him back to his best by offering him regular minutes in the side.
In Rafa Benitez’s final season at Newcastle (2018/19), Schar was sublime in the Premier League and averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.14 as he made 5.3 tackles and interceptions per game. He was even compared to former Toon defender Philippe Albert, with Garth Crooks saying this in January 2019:
“I have to go back to the days of Philippe Albert for a performance like this from a Newcastle defender. I’m not saying he’s in that class but Fabian Schar did have a magnificent game.
“The Swiss international scored one of the best individual goals I’ve seen from a central defender in years, along with a match-winning intervention if ever I saw one. Can Newcastle survive this season? Yes, but not without Rafa Benitez.”
In December of that year, Transfermarkt valued him at a whopping £14.4m. However, that is when the downwards trend started as his average rating slipped down to 6.89 in Bruce’s first season before he was only handed 13 starts the following campaign and averaged a score of 6.64.
This season, Bruce and Graeme Jones have only given him two Premier League starts between them, averaging a rating of 6.75 in those games. His spiralling form under their former manager suggests that he handled the defender’s development poorly as Benitez was able to get him playing to a high standard week-in-week-out.
Bruce’s poor management of Schar is reflected in the player’s valuation. At the time of writing (15/11/21), Transfermarkt value him at £8.1m. This means that his value has plummeted £6.3m in just under two years of Bruce’s reign, highlighting the howler he – and Newcastle – have had with him.
Therefore, Howe could benefit from trying to get the best out of the Swiss gem in the coming weeks. If he can get back to the form he showed under Benitez, to deem him worthy of being valued at £14.4m, then he could be a useful asset for the Magpies.