The mood around St. James’ Park has been negative in recent weeks, from fans voicing their frustrations to Newcastle United’s situation being discussed in the House of Commons. Manager Rafa Benitez needs quality signings for the upcoming 2018-19 campaign, and the Magpies have added a new defender this week.
The club confirmed on Thursday that Fabian Schär has moved to Tyneside from La Liga’s Deportivo de La Coruña, signing a three-year deal with the Toon. Benitez will be happy with the depth that he brings for the back-line, and had high praise for his new player. “I’m really pleased to welcome Fabian to Newcastle United. He is an international, did well in the World Cup and has great experience.”
The 26-year-old appeared in all three group-stage games for Switzerland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, helping his nation advance to the knockout stages. He did not take part in their Round of 16 loss to Sweden due to suspension.
Schär contributed to a successful domestic run for Swiss side FC Basel earlier this decade, lifting three Super League titles. He spent two seasons in Germany with Hoffenheim before switching to Spain with Déportivo. Reports indicate that the transfer fee was in the region of £3 million, which activated the buy-out clause of his contract.
The centre-back has made 42 appearances for Switzerland. Comfortable on the ball and possessing excellent passing abilities, Schär’s arrival strengthens Newcastle’s central defence in a major way. Joining talent such as Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune, Benitez will feel more than content with the rotation of his squad at the position.
Chancel Mbemba left for FC Porto, so there was a need to fill that spot as well. A fifth summer signing is reportedly set to follow very soon also, and this addition will come at a crucial position. The Guardian reported on Thursday that Japanese international striker Yoshinori Muto is poised to finalise a deal with Newcastle, as the club have agreed to a transfer fee with Mainz.
This will be an area that truly excites supporters, as the front-line clearly needed to be addressed. Muto will feel significant pressure to produce in his first season, after the likes of Dwight Gayle and Joselu were unable to consistently score goals last season.
The summer transfer period started slow for Newcastle United and Rafa Benitez. However, Fabian Schär’s signing was a shrewd piece of business this week, and more should be following.Published 26 Jul 2018, 23:34 IST