There have been media reports that one of Rafa Benitez’ summer signings could be jumping ship as early as January.
The claims have come from the Moroccan media and claim that a lack of game time has made Achraf Lazaar think about leaving Tyneside already.
Since arriving in late August, the left sided player has only started one game, the 2-0 League Cup win over Wolves in September.
Apart from that, Achraf Lazaar has only been given six minutes as a sub in the 3-1 Championship win over Brentford five weeks ago. Rafa Benitez having indicated that the 24 year old needs more time to adapt to the English game.
The lack of football led to the international being left totally out of the latest Moroccan squad, despite having started the World Cup qualifier against Gabon on 8 October 2016 in their previous get together.
Ironically, these claims of Lazaar wanting to leave, have come only days after the player gave a big interview (see below) saying how much he loved it at Newcastle, understood why it was taking time to get more matches, and he was looking to stay long-term at St James Park.
The media reports in Morocco alleged that clubs such as Roma and Torino had shown interest in taking Achraf Lazaar as early as January…but this is where the stories really fall down.
Two weeks before Lazaar signed for Newcastle, he came on as a substitute in a Coppa Italia match at home to Bari, Palermo winning 1-0.
He may only have played 141 minutes in total four months of football this season but the fact he has already played for two teams, would rule out Achraf Lazaar playing for another until next season. The same rule that prevented Hatem Ben Arfa getting a new club after playing for Hull and Newcastle (reserves!) in the same season.
So the Moroccan international is definitely going nowhere, at least not this season, and let’s hope Rafa’s softly softly patience approach pays dividend with some big Achraf Lazaar performances in the second half of the season.
Achraf Lazaar speaking to the Chronicle earlier this week:
“When the manager spoke to me the first time, he said he wanted guys who wanted to win and stay in a good position in the league.
“Once a manager like Rafa Benitez has called you, there is only one choice. He called me and I respected that so much. He told me he knew all about me from Italy and I came straight away.
“I will show my quality and I would love to make my name in England with this team. It was an extraordinary moment for me to sign for Newcastle.
“I am very happy here. This is a very good team with an excellent manager.
“We are playing good games and there is a very good group of guys. At the training ground, we have a good atmosphere.
“For me, this is one of the most important clubs in England, in the top seven in the country. That’s why I came here.
“I will give my all for this team and I hope to give the fans 100% and show how good I am.
“It was always my dream to play in England. Newcastle are a big team and have a big name.
“Palermo have a big fan base and they are very much behind the team too. If you don’t win the fans don’t like you, if you win they love you.
“The fans come to the training ground every day. They stay near the team. As I say when you win you are a prince of the city, if you lose it’s hard.
“They have the Ultras in Palermo. They thanked me for everything I had done for the club before I came to Newcastle and I thanked them for all their support.”