Achraf Lazaar was one of Newcastle United’s late signings in the transfer window, arriving from Serie A side Palermo for around £3m.
Newcastle fans have been keen to see the Moroccan international, a left-back who can also play left-wing, a very quick player full of tricks and one who looks set to entertain the supporters.
However, Rafa Benitez has been allowed the luxury of taking it easy/slowly with the late arrivals, a winning run that now stretches to six after the Loftus Road demolition last night, meaning no need to rush things.
Along with Christian Atsu and Daryl Murphy, Achraf Lazaar makes up the trio who arrived latest of Rafa’s 12 signings. Last night saw Atsu get the final half hour after Newcastle went 4-0 up, Lazaar perhaps unlucky not to be on the bench as it was a game where potentially he could also have got his first taste of football in England.
So far, the only matchday involvement has been as an unused sub at Derby County on Saturday.
In light of this, it makes this Achraf Lazaar interview all the more remarkable, the player clearly buying into the Rafa Benitez longer term strategy and knowing that with such a strong squad, the manager will only give his chance when he is ready.
Obviously none of us have a crystal ball to see what happens in the future with any player – but in the here and now, great to hear a player talking so enthusiastically about his new club, manager and supporters.
Long may it continue.
Achraf Lazaar talking to TMW:
“Playing in England has always been my dream, it is the right season for me.
“In Sicily too many changes, so many situations and so Benitez’ call…to receive the call from an important coach like Benitez who spoke to me in a truly humble way was something unexpected and important. He has won so much, is one of the strongest in the world. I could only say ‘yes sir. I am here’.
“I saw the facilities, the environment is very different from Italy. The is an amazing organisation, a beautiful stadium, fantastic fans. Here in serie B (Championship) there are fifty two thousand subscribers (fans), a fantastic reality.
“They treated me very well from day one, here as a player you feel one hundred percent. Here you can grow and get where you couldn’t even imagine. No limits.
“I had to choose between Newcastle and Fiorentina. Fiorentina are a great club, but my head and my family have told me, ‘Go to Newcastle’.
“England has always been my dream, then Newcastle will go in the Premier League and it has everything to be great. “
“ Palermo has given me so much…gave me very great fans, great people. I felt really at home, they loved me and made me grow as a player. But the last time I did not feel Lazaar any more… There was too much confusion, so many changes of coach which is never good.
“Last year we had to take on nine different ideas, it was not easy. The fans were disappointed, we who have won Serie B (Lazaar and Palermo promoted in 2014) felt hurt. “
“I hope it’s not a league of suffering (for Palermo). I do not want to say anything, so as not to bring bad luck. I will follow the championship of Palermo, I left many friends – Morganella, Andelkovic, Aleesaami.
“I build my future thinking of the present, you never know what can happen – maybe I’ll end my career at Newcastle or elsewhere.
“Today I want to give my all for Newcastle, who believed in me and who have shown that with actions, not words.”