NEWCASTLE UNITED will attempt to tie up a contract extension for Fabian Schar before the start of this summer’s European Championships, but Steve Bruce admits he has some “big decisions” to make when it comes to the future of fellow defenders Federico Fernandez and Florian Lejeune.

Schar, who will miss the next three matches after being sent off in yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, is due to become a free agent at the end of the season, but his contract contains a clause to extend his deal by another year if all parties agree.

Bruce is keen to trigger the clause, with the 29-year-old regarded as one of Newcastle’s key senior professionals, and the Magpies hierarchy would like to conclude discussions before Schar leaves to join up with the Switzerland squad ahead of this summer’s Euros.

Newcastle’s powerbrokers are mindful that Schar’s participation in this summer’s tournament could potentially see his value increase markedly, and while the defender’s contractual position provides a degree of security, they would like to tie up an extended deal as quickly as possible.

Fernandez’s position is more complicated as the 32-year-old’s current deal is not believed to contain a clause for an extra 12 months.

The Argentinian has been able to talk to potential overseas suitors since the turn of the year, and is understood to be the subject of strong interest from at least two clubs based on the continent.

He has been a mainstay of Bruce’s first-choice line-up when fit this season, with yesterday’s game with Arsenal taking him to 20 league starts this term.

In an ideal world, Bruce would almost certainly like to keep the defender on the books for at least another year, but given that Fernandez will turn 33 next season, the Magpies boss will struggle to persuade Mike Ashley to sanction a new deal. Ashley is notoriously reluctant to offer new contracts to anyone over the age of 30.

Florian Lejeune, who turns 30 at the end of this month, has spent the current campaign on loan at Spanish side Alaves. He is due to enter the final year of his Newcastle contract in June, and therefore the Magpies could look to cash in this summer rather than run the risk of him leaving for nothing in another year’s time.

“With Fab Schar, I think there’s a clause in his contract where we can extend it,” said Bruce, in response to a question about the defensive issues he will be wrestling with this summer. “I believe that’s the case.

“With all of those decisions, there’s obviously discussions to be had when the season is done and dusted. We’re not done and dusted yet, but of course there’s big, difficult decisions to make. In every football club, that’s part and parcel of it. Yes, we’ve got some big decisions to make.”