Rafa Benitez has admitted that Fabian Schar was NOT one of his top targets over the summer – but believes he has done ‘really well’ since signing; with his ‘experience’ and ‘quality on the ball’ being key.
In fairness, it’s no surprise to hear this, with it appearing to be VERY rare these days that the Spaniard gets his top target (with Almiron being the latest player at the top of his list that he looks likely to miss out on).
That said, Rafa has still managed to find some diamonds in the rough – and the £3.5m signing of Swiss international Fabian Schar looks set to be one of them.
Here’s what Rafa’s had to say about the centre-back – praising him for the impact he’s made since arriving over the summer:
“He cost £3.5m.
“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 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, especially with his right foot.
“He has done really well. We have some really good centre-backs.”
The fact Rafa can find bargains like Schar is probably working against him when it comes to Ashley’s reluctance to loosen his purse strings.
He’ll deny it in interviews, but Ashley clearly has enough money to spend big – but I’d like to bet that he prefers to give Benitez a limited budget on the basis that he often finds players good enough to play in the Premier League on the cheap.
Ok, the likes of Joselu, Manquillo and Murphy haven’t looked up to it, but Dubravka, Lejeune, Fernandez, Ki, Schar and Rondon look more than capable at this level – yet they’ve only set Ashley back a mere £20m.