Newcastle left-back Achraf Lazaar completed a season-long loan switch to Serie A outfit Benevento on summer transfer deadline day, and he isn’t looking to come back as he’s relieved to have ended a disappointing spell in England.
The 25-year-old was signed from Palermo on a 5-year deal last season, but despite 59 Serie A games to his name in his last 2 seasons with the club, he only played 4 times in the Toons title-winning Championship campaign last term – all as a sub.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez convinced Lazaar to ditch a move to Fiorentina in favour of Tyneside last summer, and the Moroccan international is yet to come to terms with why he wasn’t given enough chance to prove himself.
The Italy-born defender made his debut for Benevento at the weekend in a 1-nil loss to Torino, and he told reporters ahead of the game: “My signing for Benevento is the end of a nightmare.
“At Newcastle I never played and over a whole year, Rafa Benitez never gave me an explanation. All he said was that I was a player more suited to Serie A or the Premier League, rather than the Championship.
“It’s a shame because he really wanted me. I was about to sign for Fiorentina when he called me and told me to go to him. They were just words, what a disappointment.”
Newcastle brought in 5 new players over the summer, but no new left-back was signed.
An injury to Paul Dummett had appeared to finally present Lazaar the opportunity to play in the EPL Benitez claimed suits his style.
However, centre-back Chancel Mbemba was deployed to the position, a huge signal from the manager that the Moroccan isn’t in his plans for the new season either.
While Lazaar’s exit is temporary, it’s not expected that he returns to Newcastle after his loan ends, with a permanent deal to remain at the Serie A very likely.