Newcastle United managing Director Lee Charnley must look to sell Achraf Lazaar in the summer transfer window, after a torrid season on loan with Cosenza Calcio for the former Turkey international.
Lazaar returned to Italy last summer after finding himself left out of Steve Bruce’s first 25-man Premier League squad, and headed for the Serie B but found regular action had to come by before Prime minister Giuseppe Conte postponed all sporting events in the country.
Cosenza head coach Giuseppe Pillon has only entrusted Lazaar with starting four of a possible 14 league games this term, with the 17-cap left-back also ruled out for 10 matches from September to December after sustaining a thigh muscle strain.
The 28-year-old would face an even slimmer chance of earning minutes at St. James’ Park were he to return in the summer, even though we currently do not have a recognised full-back of our own with Danny Rose only on loan.
Across his Italian second-tier appearances, Lazaar has been involved in just the one goal – which he scored in a 2-1 defeat to Pordenone Calcio in December – having seen the two big chances he created go to waste.
Does Lazaar deserve another chance at St. James' Park?
Creating openings in front of the net has not been a frequent trend of Lazaar’s performances, with Sofa Score figures showing an average of 0.8 key balls per league game, while delivering just 1.4 accurate crosses (25%) and completing 9.5 passes in the opponent’s half (52%).
He rarely beats players, either, with just 1.4 successful dribbles (50%), 3.5 ground duels won (47%), 0.3 aerial duels won (29%), loses possession 13.8 times and wins possession just 0.3 times.
Bruce clearly did not like what he saw in Lazaar a year ago to suggest he could cut it in the Premier League – despite taking him on loan with Sheffield Wednesday last season – and the Moroccan’s performances this season only make the picture substantially more unappealing.
Lazaar will have one year remaining on his £9,000-per-week contract come the end of the current campaign.
In other Newcastle United news, a three-time league winner turned down the club last year during our search of a key replacement.