I did a piece the other day about the 10 players that were out of contract in the summer.
Included in that were centre-back trio, Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark – all of whom are playing well at the moment and have a case for contract renewal.
Now, The Athletic have released a great article on the defensive trinity and offer insightful updates on the future of each.
Let’s start with Fabian Schar, with The Athletic revealing that we actually have an option to extend his contract by another year:
“The Athletic understands there is an option to extend it by another year. It is believed Newcastle can exercise that clause, and are expected to do so regardless, at the very least to retain some value while they decide what to do with the 29-year-old.
“Somewhat ironically, Schar is actually the defender Bruce would be most receptive to allowing to leave the club. Like predecessor Rafa Benitez, Bruce is unconvinced by the Switzerland international in a back four and primarily uses him in a three-man central defence.
“Bruce wants reliability from his defenders, something Schar has not always been able to deliver. That is why, long-term, Bruce may look to move him on.“
So, we’ll activate that extension, but perhaps only to protect his value – enabling us to sell him this summer for a half-decent fee if Bruce is open to cashing in while we can?
Then to Federico Fernandez, with The Athletic confirming that Italian, Chinese and Argentinian sides are all eyeing a pre-contract agreement for arguably our most consistent defender:
“There is hope Federico Fernandez will remain beyond the summer, too, though negotiations have not progressed as quickly as the player would have liked.
“Fernandez is believed to be relaxed about the situation and is happy at Newcastle, but there has been tentative interest from clubs in Italy, China and his native Argentina regarding a potential pre-contract agreement.
“Given that no player has featured for as many league minutes as Fernandez (3,923) since Bruce’s appointment in summer 2019, keeping the former Swansea City and Napoli man appears essential.
“He does turn 32 next month, however, and Newcastle have been reluctant to hand multi-year contracts to players of such an age, so a positive outcome is not a formality.”
Last but not least, The Athletic claim that Ciaran Clark is now in talks over a new deal, stating that “cautious optimism” exists that he’ll sign — despite interest from Palace and a few other bottom-half Premier League clubs.
I think it would be fair to say that he’s played really well since coming back in and never lets us down. I’m definitely thinking that all three will be offered new deals. Whether they’re deals that they’ll accept and sign remains to be seen.
Who knows, a few may yet sit it out and leave for free in the summer – although if they do get new deals offered and sign, I still believe Schar will be sold this summer as it seems that he’s the one Bruce would sell!
One thing’s for sure that Mike Ashley must consider – it would be careless to let any leave on a free when all of them wouldn’t be easy to replace on the cheap!