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Opinion

Is this the truth about the Valentino Lazaro loan deal?

4 months ago
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In this bizarre season, Valentino Lazaro nevertheless stands out as one of the stranger aspects.

Having impressed at Hertha Berlin, the winger was much sought after in summer 2019 and eventually Inter Milan landed him for £20m.

The Austrian international then became a victim of the club’s success, as whilst Valentino Lazaro settled in, Inter Milan went on title winning form of 12 wins and only one defeat in their opening 14 Serie A matches.

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The form of the established players made it all but impossible for Lazaro to get game time, just three league starts and three sub appearances before heading out on loan in January. Inter’s form continuing as they lost only one of their opening 23 league matches.

Newcastle United were the ones to land him against stiff competition, including Leipzig who were title contenders in Germany.

Getting games was obviously a big part of the attraction at St James Park.

After giving Valentino Lazaro only four minutes on the pitch at Brighton where Newcastle were crying out for inspiration, Steve Bruce was asked about the situation and so few opportunities for the player, especially with regard to a permanent deal:

“It has been really difficult because of the lockdown situation.

“He [Valentino Lazaro] probably hasn’t played as much as he would like.

“I think he is just getting used to playing in the Premier League but now it’s finishing.

“I’m sure he’ll be disappointed with the amount of game time he has had but look, up until two or three games ago, the team were playing very, very well and he couldn’t find his way into it.

“So it has been difficult for the boy but I still like him as a player and as a lad.

“He will look at the game time and think he hasn’t had enough.”

Since arriving on loan in late January, these are the PL matches that Valentino Lazaro could have played in:

Newcastle 0 Norwich 0 – 36 minutes as a sub

Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0  – 74 minutes as a STARTER

Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0  – 90 minutes as a STARTER (sent off in added time)

Newcastle 0 Burnley 0 – 0 minutes as banned after red card against Palace

Southampton 0 Newcastle 1  – 18 minutes as a sub

Newcastle 3 Sheffield United 0 – 5 minutes as a sub

Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1 – 4 minutes as a sub

Bournemouth 1 Newcastle 4 – 28 minutes as a sub

Newcastle 2 West Ham 2 – 21 minutes as a sub

Man City 5 Newcastle 0 – 66 minutes as a STARTER

Waford 2 Newcastle 1 – 3 minutes as a sub

Newcastle 1 Tottenham 3 – 35 minutes as a sub

Brighton 0 Newcastle 0  – 4 minutes as a sub

A few things strike me.

The most obvious of course is that Valentino Lazaro has made only three starts.

Another, is that despite Steve Bruce having no real interest in starting him, Valentino Lazaro has still featured in EVERY PL match he could have played in.

I get the feeling that this is a signing that sums up the shambles at Newcastle United.

A process whereby the Head Coach plays no part in deciding what players to sign and then Steve Bruce not having a clue on what Valentino Lazaro was all about.

With Manquillo, Krafth and Yedlin not available to start, Bruce put Valentino Lazaro in at right wing-back, effectively right-back, in the away defeats at Arsenal and Palace.

Valentino Lazaro is a traditional winger who has in the past occasionally played as an attacking wing-back, he is not a defender! Very bizarre putting him in that position to start, especially in tough away matches.

Then the only other PL start was the weakened team in the 5-0 at Man City, Lazaro put in as a winger supposedly but effectively playing as one of the countless defenders.

To use him every time even when named as a sub, four of the nine sub appearances for five minutes or less, suggests to me the loan contract saw NUFC commit to him getting on the pitch so many times.

Quite amazing that journalists and Steve Bruce are still talking about Valentino Lazaro as a possible permanent NUFC signing this summer, when Steve Bruce has shown so little interest in playing him despite so many meaningless games AND not having a clue how to use him when he has started the odd time.

If Newcastle United do buy Valentino Lazaro, it will be the biggest joke of all.

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