Fabian Schar has been probably Newcastle’s star performer during the opening couple of months of the Premier League season, while Matt Ritchie has spent much of it on the sidelines through injury.
But during the Chronicle’s weekly question and answer session, they report that both players are key figures in the dressing room, and Steve Bruce wants new contracts for them.
In Schar’s case, it is an absolute no brainer to offer him improved terms. The way he has played so far, the worry is that it may have alerted other clubs around Europe, and leave him susceptible to bids in January.
The best thing Newcastle could do is to get a new deal agreed and signed before the transfer window, meaning only a gigantic, ridiculous offer could tempt the club to cash in.
Speaking of what he brings off the field, the report said: “The Newcastle head coach has been very impressed by Fabian Schar, a straight talker who is emerging as a key figure in the dressing room, and greatly values what he can do on the ball as well as that resilience he has shown in recent weeks with some crucial clearances and interceptions.”
There is no reason why Schar cannot go on to captain this side in future years, should he opt to extend his stay on Tyneside.
Matt Ritchie is a leader on and off the pitch
Matt Ritchie is also described as “a key dressing room figure”, but due to his age – he turned 30 in September – offering him a new deal is a little more complicated, given Mike Ashley’s often absurd view on players’ ages.
But the report also says Ritchie is “a big favourite” of Bruce, which means he will be pushing to ensure the former Scotland international’s likely last big contract is at Newcastle.
It is nice to hear the club actually being proactive on the contract front, and it would be both sensible and logical to give one of the senior, more experiences players, like Ritchie, a deal to keep him at the club.
In football, 75 per cent of a player’s influence in on the pitch. The other 25 per cent, is how they act in the dressing room, and how they mentor the younger players at the club.
Ritchie, and his opinion, always seems respected by his peers, and I have little doubt he will always be around to help the younger players, as proved by Sean Longstaff’s comments saying the former Bournemouth player helped him cope, when the Manchester United speculation was distracting him.
Those are the types of players you want around the football club, even if they are not playing week in, week out.
Giving natural leaders like Schar and Ritchie new deals can only benefit Newcastle, and the sooner they get them done and dusted, the better it will be for everyone.