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Newcastle United confirm bizarre call up for Achraf Lazaar

12 months ago

Achraf Lazaar arrived at St James Park back on 27 August 2016.

After relegation, Rafa Benitez had a massive job on his hands as loads of the rats (Sissoko, Townsend, Wijnaldum, Janmaat etc) demanded to leave the sinking ship, rather than stay and help get promoted. Whilst there was also a load of players not fit for purpose that also needed to be cleared out.

Achraf Lazaar one of 12 signings in summer 2016 that Rafa Benitez had to make to fill the gaps left in the squad, as he attempted to build one to get instant promotion.

Mike Ashley continuing his policy of giving far too long contracts to so many new signings and existing young players, Achraf Lazaar getting a five year deal.

With so many signings in such a short space of time, there was always room for mistakes on one or two signings…Pretty much ever since he arrived, Newcastle United have been trying to move the Moroccan international to another club on a permanent basis, with no luck.

A number of failed loan deals not exactly helping to attract clubs.

Benevento leaving Achraf Lazaar completely out of their squad for the second half of the 2017/18 Serie A season after a poor run of form and only give six league starts.

At Sheffield Wednesday the left-back actually fleetingly showed some promise under Steve Bruce but got injured after only three Championship starts in 2018/19.

Then going last season to second tier Italian club Cosenza, Achraf Lazaar was often missing due to some unconfirmed illness / injury and even when available made only four starts (named 17 times on the bench) in Serie B.

Achraf Lazaar has played only nine minutes of football in the past seven months and has been sent to train with the kids at Newcastle United, yet on Tuesday morning the club have confirmed (see below) a quite bizarre call-up.

Newcastle United stating that Achraf Lazaar has now been recalled by Morocco after a gap of four years.

October 2016 the last time his country named him in a national squad, only six weeks after joining Newcastle United.

So you have to wonder exactly what they have seen in him recently to get this recall.

Here’s hoping he might get a chance on the pitch against Senegal and / or DR Congo and attract a new club on the back of it.

Newcastle United and Achraf Lazaar of course having the option of mutually agreeing to cancel his contract and make him a free agent, though of course there are also 10 days remaining of this transfer window when the left-back could be sold or loaned to a Championship, League One, or League Two club.

Never say never.

Newcastle United official announcement:

A number of Newcastle United’s first team will be in action during this week’s international break, with new signings Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis among the players called up by their countries.

Fraser’s Scotland face Israel at Hampden Park in a EURO 2020 play-off semi-final on Thursday night before welcoming Slovakia – who will be without the services of the injured Martin Dúbravka – to the same venue on Sunday for a UEFA Nations League Group B clash.

They finish the round of matches with another Nations League game against the Czech Republic at Hampden on Wednesday, 14th October, with Fraser looking to add to his tally of 11 caps and a solitary goal. All three games are set to kick off at 7:45pm.

Full back Lewis, meanwhile, has been named in the Northern Ireland squad for their EURO 2020 play-off semi-final game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on Thursday night.

The summer arrival from Norwich could then feature when Northern Ireland welcome Austria to Windsor Park in the Nations League on Sunday, before a trip to Oslo to face Norway a week on Thursday. Again, all of Lewis’ fixtures will get under way at 7:45pm.

Another Magpies recruit, Jeff Hendrick, is part of Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland squad which will take on Slovakia in Bratislava on Thursday (7:45pm kick-off).

Hendrick’s side then return to Dublin for a Nations League showdown with Wales on Sunday (2pm kick-off), followed by a trip to Helsinki for a clash with Finland in the same competition on Wednesday, 14th October (5pm kick-off).

Defender Emil Krafth could also be in action, with Sweden set to face Russia in a friendly in Solna on Thursday (5:15pm kick-off), followed by a trip to Zagreb for a Nations League encounter with Croatia on Sunday (5pm kick-off).

Krafth could then feature against Portugal in Lisbon in another Nations League fixture on Wednesday, 14thOctober at 7:45pm.

Fabian Schär’s Switzerland, meanwhile, play a friendly against Croatia on Wednesday, before a Nations League double-header against Spain in Madrid on Saturday and then Germany in Cologne on Tuesday, 13thOctober, with all games kicking off at 7:45pm.

Further afield, Miguel Almirón could be in World Cup qualifying action this week, having been named in the Paraguay squad to face Peru in Asuncion on Friday – a game which gets under way at 12:30am BST.

Almirón may then be in line to take on Venezuela in Merida next Tuesday in another qualifier for the 2022 tournament, which kicks off at 11pm BST.

And full back Achraf Lazaar has also received a call-up, with Morocco set to take on Senegal on Friday and DR Congo on Tuesday in Rabat. Both fixtures kick-off at 7pm.’


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