Achraf Lazaar move held up as Newcastle United insist on ‘forced option’ as time is running out
On Wednesday, well known Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio brought news that a move for Achraf Lazaar was on the cards (see below).
Diego Laxalt is in the process of moving to AC Milan and Genoa were said to be interested in the Newcastle defender as a replacement.
Now Sky Sports in Italy report that Newcastle and Genoa are in discussions about a deal but have reached a bit of a sticking point.
Both sides are happy for the move to be initially a loan for the season but Genoa want to have a buying option at the end of it, whereas Newcastle are insisting on a ‘forced option’, whereby the Serie A club would have no choice but to buy Achraf Lazaar for a pre-arranged fee next summer.
You can understand it from both sides as the player hasn’t started a single league game for Newcastle and last year his loan was a total flop with Benevento, only starting six league games and then left out of their official squad in the second half of the season.
Lazaar has played two full Serie A seasons (2014/15 and 2015/16) with Palermo so he has shown he can play at that level. For a player low on confidence and with hardly any football the previous season, moving to a very weak promoted club like Benevento who ended up bottom of the table all season, probably wasn’t the ideal scenario for an attacking left back/win back such as him.
Diego Laxalt has now passed his medical at AC Milan and time is running out for Achraf Lazaar to complete his move.
Serie A kicks off this weekend and like the Premier League they are ending their transfer window before play starts, 8pm tonight (Friday) sees their window close.
The Mag – 15 August 2018:
Achraf Lazaar is currently in no man’s land at Newcastle United.
The 26 year old, along with Rolando Aarons and Henri Saivet, has been totally sidelined by Rafa Benitez, not even given a squad number for the new season.
The Newcastle boss once again getting tough with players who have no future at Newcastle, the manager making it clear they will be training with the kids if they don’t find a new club.
Achraf Lazaar had a nightmare loan spell last season back in Italy, Benevento were bottom of Serie A all year and yet the left sided player struggled to get a game.
The player only making six league starts and then left out of the official squad altogether for the second half of the season.
He tried to arrange a temporary move to the MLS (see below) in a vain attempt to make Morocco’s World Cup squad but that never went anywhere.
However, over in Italy, journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claims a new club could be on the horizon for the Newcastle player.
Di Marzio says that with Diego Laxalt set to join AC Milan, he understands that Genoa are interested in signing Achraf Lazaar as a replacement.
Lazaar was a success with Palermo in Serie A before moving to Newcastle, so hopefully somebody such as Genoa will take a chance on him, presumably a loan with a buying option is the best we could hope for.
The Mag – 21 May 2018:
Fair to say Achraf Lazaar won’t rank as one of Rafa Benitez’ better signings.
Signed for £3m back in summer 2016, Rafa then found the player not good enough to make a single start even in a Championship season.
With no chance of then being involved in the 2017/18 Premier League season and with no clubs interested in buying him, the left sided player went on loan to Benevento for a year.
Staying bottom of Serie A for this entire season it has been a nightmare for them, though arguably an even worse one for Achraf Lazaar.
After six league starts early on, Lazaar then was frozen out after making his last start on 5 November 2017.
Even worse was to come as Benevento didn’t even name the player in their official Serie A squad after the January transfer window. Having already played for Newcastle back in August 2017, Achraf Lazaar was in a position whereby he was hindered by the FIFA rule of not being able to play for more than two clubs in one season.
In March, Lazaar then surprised everybody by claiming (see below) that there were three MLS clubs interested in signing him, with the player wanting one last chance at maybe making the World Cup with Morocco this summer, if he could get regular football.
The MLS season started in March 2018 and because their timings are out of sync with European leagues, Achraf Lazaar believed he could potentially play in America if making an agreement and sorting out the ‘red tape’.
A bit similar to Hatem Ben Arfa who sat out the remainder of the 2014/15 season without any football. However, at the time it was said that he did consider a short spell in America to give him some football.
Lazaar last played for his country in October 2016 in a World Cup qualifier against Gabon (ended 0-0).
However, the American dream never got off the ground and now Achraf Lazaar clearly has no chance of making the Morocco squad.
As for club football, he is set to report back to Newcastle for pre-season training on 2 July and see where the future then takes him.
Hopefully he will be able to find another club and doesn’t become yet another player who Newcastle can’t shift because of the wages he is on but not good enough to play in the English top tier. If Newcastle are to shift the player then you imagine they would have to basically give him away, so a club at a lower level can satisfy the player’s wage demands.
On Sunday, we released the results of our poll of thousands of fans asking which Newcastle players should be definitely retained for next season, along with Jack Colback, Achraf Lazaar got the very lowest support of only 2% (see full results HERE).
Achraf Lazaar speaking back in March 2018:
“I want to be at the World Cup with Morocco.
“Representing my country is the greatest satisfaction and I want to be at the World Cup with Morocco, as that would be a dream.
“Now I will do everything I can to earn my chance.
“Unfortunately, I have been pushed out of the Benevento squad.
“Coming here was a bad decision and I wouldn’t do it again, even if I got to know the extraordinary President Vigorito. I still respect him, despite the decision they have made.
“I have nothing against Coach Roberto De Zerbi, as he made his choices.
“I belong to Newcastle and must think about what is best for my career and right now I need playing time.
“I can confirm that there are three clubs who are interested in MLS, but I prefer to respect those clubs, and not name the ones who contacted me.
“It is not easy purely in terms of red tape to go to America but with my new agent Roberto De Fanti we are seeking the best solution.
“I really miss the Morocco squad, as I played during the qualifiers for the World Cup and will do everything to get my place in the side.
“I haven’t been the usual Lazaar in recent months, but I have matured a great deal, I was a kid when I first became known and now I am a man.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]