Fabian Schar: Five facts on the Arsenal and Tottenham £7m target

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Fresh from being linked with a Premier League move to one of two north London clubs, Jack Beresford finds out more about the Switzerland international.

Arsenal and Tottenham could be set to duke it out this January with the clubs competing to recruit £7 million-rated defender Fabian Schar from Swiss champions Basel – but what do we know about him?

A young defender who largely impressed for Switzerland at the World Cup, the 22-year-old still remains something of an unknown quantity, despite the reports and rumours surrounding his future.

Here are five things you may not have known about Schar:

1. Schar started as a YouTube sensation

Despite being the same age as many of the supposed "Golden Generation" of Swiss stars that shone at under-17 World Cup in 2009, Schar was far from being in the international picture at that time.

Though making his debut early at first club Wil, Schar struggled for form and consistency in the early part of his career and a string of inexperienced performances soon saw him demoted to the reserve team. That proved to be the making of the defender, who worked hard to restablish himself back in the starting eleven.

Then, in his second season at the club, Schar become something of a YouTube sensation after scoring a 60-yard David Beckham-esque lob against FC Aarau. Overnight, he became a recognised name amongst Swiss football fans.


2. A Premier League move adds up!

While we’ve all heard of retired players enjoying second careers in a variety of guises, they do things a little differently in Switzerland.

During his younger years at first club FC Wil, players were encouraged to take up apprenticeships in the event that their football careers fail to take off.

Schar was no different, with the young defender spending a long-stretch of his formative years working as a bank clerk in the region.

"I used to work all day in the bank and then go to training and then come home and start my homework at 10pm," he said in an interview on the website of Raiffeisen.

He should be good at managing his money then!


3. Second-tier obscurity to the Champions League

Schar may have attracted Premier League attention after his displays at Basel, but the 22-year-old is no product of the club’s much-famed youth academy setup.

Instead, the defender was discovered playing at second division minnows FC Wil, his hometown club and the team he played 52 times for during a three-year stint in the first team.

Signed for a fee believed to be in the region of €400,000 back in July 2012, Schar went from playing in front of 6,000 fans every week to appearing in front of over 38,000 at Jakob-Park.


4. Cometh the hour, cometh the goal

Despite playing predominantly as a centre-back with both FC Wil and Basel, Schar boasts an impressive goalscoring record.

The 6ft 1in stopper managed nine goals in 52 games for his home town club and has continued his fine form in front of net with Basel, where he has managed to rack up another nine strikes from just 48 appearances for the Swiss giants.

Something of a big game player, Schar has popped up with goals in the Swiss Super League, Europa League and Champions League and has even netted for Switzerland in two key World Cup qualifiers.


5. Fate may see him head to England

Tottenham and Arsenal may be the clubs currently leading the way to sign Schar, but a move to the Premier League had seemed highly unlikely back at the start of the year.

Keen to cash-in on another of their young star talents ahead of the World Cup, Basel appeared ready and willing to sell the defender back in January, with Barcelona, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund all thought to be keen on completing a deal.

But in a cruel twist, which ultimately played into the Premier League’s hands, Schar suffered a serious knee injury that ruled him out until late March.

Now back and raring to go, with Inter, Barca and Dortmund recruiting alternatives, the way appears clear for the Swiss youngster to head to England.

Would Schar fit in well at Arsenal or Tottenham?

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