Newcastle United have never before had so many loan deals in a season.
A whole host of players heading into and out of St James Park.
Loan deals are always/usually seen as a second best option, either a player who is always going to be just at a club for a temporary spell, or others who are on ore of a try before you buy.
One outgoing deal in the summer was Achraf Lazaar.
The (now) 26 year old Moroccan international proved to be easily Rafa Benitez’ worst signing of Summer 2016.
Arriving from Serie A side Palermo, the left-back only played 36 minutes of Championship football as the United boss clearly didn’t feel he was up to even the second tier of English football.
No surprise then that Achraf Lazaar headed back to Serie A last Summer, joining promoted Benevento.
The Italian media saying that the one year loan deal gave Benevento the option of buying the player for £3m if he impressed.
Achraf Lazaar featured in nine Serie A games up to 19 November, six as a starter and three as a sub, Benevento lost all nine games.
The Newcastle loan player then disappearing from the first team scene with vague claims of an injury.
The final days of the January transfer window saw Lazaar reappear but only as an unused sub twice.
January saw Benevento very busy in the transfer market as they desperately try to get out of relegation trouble, with 13 games remaining they are currently on only 10 points still, six behind even the second bottom team Hellas Verona (where Rolando Aarons is on loan).
Amongst the players they brought in were former Premier League players Sandro and Bacary Sagna.
As for Achraf Lazaar, it all gets a little strange.
He hasn’t been named in a Benevento squad this month, since the January transfer window ended…
As somebody who will be easily one of their biggest wage earners this season, very strange they aren’t even having him amongst the substitutes.
Looking then at the Transfermarkt website, we came across this:
As you can see, it says he has a 149 days ‘suspension’, from 1 February 2018 to 30 June 2018, which coincidentally is when his loan spell ends from Newcastle.
Just like Premier League clubs, those in Serie A have to name a squad of senior players at the end of both the Summer and January transfer windows, these are the only players (as well as those classed as Under 21) who can then be used in league matches.
Achraf Lazaar was of course named at the start of September in the Benevento official Serie A squad.
However, when the Italian club posted their updated squad on 3 February, it appears that Achraf Lazaar was missing.
No official confirmation from either Newcastle United or Benevento and certainly no claims of any injury happening between him being named as a sub on 28 January and the new squad being announced, but looking at it, it appears as though the players brought in during January have left no room for Achraf Lazaar to be included for the rest of the season.
Whatever the truth, it looks like I have more chance of winning the Euro Millions than there is of Benevento buying Achraf Lazaar at the end of the season.