Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Newcastle become the hunted as meeting prompts fear Eddie Howe could lose vital star

Newcastle pair Fabian Schar and Allan Saint-Maximin

Newcastle could be deprived of Fabian Schar this summer after a report revealed a meeting has taken place in which the defender’s exit was discussed.

Once Newcastle’s Saudi-backed takeover was completed, attention quickly turned to who they would splash the cash for. The Magpies made five new signings costing roughly a combined £90m in January. It’s unarguable that those additions have helped push Newcastle much closer to safety.

Once their Premier League status is secured, Newcastle can set about revamping Eddie Howe’s squad further with one eye on moving up the table as quickly as possible.

Additions could come in all areas of the pitch, though none might be as important as at centre-half.

That’s because Italian journalist Rudy Galetti has reported a meeting between the agent of Fabian Schar and AC Milan recently took place.

Schar, 30, is arguably the finest centre-half on Newcastle’s books at present. The Swiss international has started all but one of Newcastle’s league matches since Howe took charge in early November.

He has already developed a budding partnership alongside January recruit Dan Burn, though his contract status is cause for concern.

Schar is poised to become a free agent when the season ends. Though there was hope a new deal would be signed.

AC Milan could tempt Fabian Schar

Indeed, Schar himself said in March: “Everyone at the club knows how comfortable I feel in this team and under this coach.

“I can well imagine staying at Newcastle beyond the summer. It wasn’t always like that; things weren’t always very happy for me under the old owner.

“The next few weeks will show how things will go for me. Newcastle are certainly my priority.”

Yet one month on, a new contract has not been signed and Schar is now on AC Milan’s radar.

Galetti tweeted Schar’s agent – Volker Struth – met with Milan chiefs on Monday and the centre-back’s name was discussed.

AC are seeking a replacement for Alessio Romagnoli who is also a free agent in the summer.

Schar’s prior comments clearly suggest he would be happy to remain at St. James’ Park. However, at 30, the lure of joining a Champions League team could appeal.

AC are vying for the Serie A title this season and barring a disaster, will qualify for next season’s Champions League. They currently top the table and are 13 points clear of fifth-placed Roma.

In contrast, even with a series of successful windows, it could take multiple years before Newcastle break into the top four in England – by which point Schar may no longer be playing.