NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has said Newcastle United are keen to renew in-form defender Fabian Schar, with the Switzerland international in the final months of his Magpies contract.
As part of Schar’s contract, a one-year extension was triggered last summer which came as a surprise to many as the centre-half was expected to step down after falling out of favor with the former manager Steve Bruce.
However, under Eddie Howe, Schar has been sidelined and shines. The Swiss was one of Newcastle’s star players, alongside new central defensive partner Dan Burn, in a side that kept three clean sheets in seven Premier League unbeaten matches.
And it looks like Howe wants to reward that run with a new deal for the player, who was a bargain buy from Deportivo La Coruña’s Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2018.
“Fabian is someone, as I’ve said before, that I’ve always looked up to,” Howe said.
“He is a very good central defender in football. The most important thing for me is that he defended very well. He is another one who is very well trained.
“We are aware of his contract situation and we will sit down and discuss with his agent very soon.”
Schar isn’t the only Newcastle player whose contract is well into its final year.
Sean Longstaff, once a $46 million target for Manchester United, will become a free agent at the end of the season.
Although Longstaff was unable to work his way into the team for a few weeks, Howe values the midfield a lot.
The head coach, whose side will face Brighton & Hove Albion at St James’ Park tomorrow, said: “I love Sean, and I probably haven’t shown that through my squad selection, but it’s is only because it’s a very strong area of the team. Bruno doesn’t play as well.
“I really appreciate Sean and I desperately want him to have an opportunity and consistently show everyone what he can do because I think he’s a top player,” Howe said. “I would like him to stay at the football club – there is no part of me that wants to see him go.”
“I believe he has a long-term future here, but it’s also Sean’s decision,” he said.
“On my side, there’s absolutely every part of me that wants him to stay.”
Meanwhile, like last week, Howe says he’ll make a late call to find out if Allan Saint-Maximin will be involved against the Seagulls.
The Frenchman has missed the last two games against West Ham United and Brentford with a calf problem.
And although the player is back in the UK, after traveling to his homeland for medical treatment, he has yet to train in full contact with his teammates.
Howe said: “Maxi hasn’t trained with us yet, but hopefully he will today (Friday).
“We will make a decision based on his appearance and the state of his injury after this training session.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, Howe provided an update on the fitness of key first-team trio Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier and Matt Ritchie.
“Matty is doing great,” Howe said. “He had a period where he was away and came back. We hope he will train next week.
“I think once he trains he will be quite quick because he was able to maintain his fitness,” he added. “Kieran is fine – he had the stitches in his foot so he is making good progress. Were happy.
“Callum is like we were, really. He is working to come back and working hard on certain aspects. He’s not racing yet and we haven’t seen him outside yet, but with the latest update I gave you, he’s still on track since then.