Achraf Lazaar has attracted the interest of Serie A side Hellas Verona, according to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira and TuttoMercatoWEB, while the Chronicle suggest Fiorentina and Dutch side FC Utrecht are likewise interested in luring the Newcastle United defender away from the North East.
Lazaar was thought to have flown out to Italy earlier in the month to hold discussions with unnamed Serie A outfits, as he looked to secure a new challenge after Steve Bruce deemed the 17-cap Morocco left-back surplus to requirements.
He has since returned to Darsley Park for first-team training, which suggested a move was potentially no longer on the cards.
Verona are now sounding out the likelihood of a late window deal, though, as Ivan Juric is seemingly keen to bolster his options at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi ahead of I Gialloblu commencing their campaign at home to Bologna on Sunday.
Fiorentina could scupper Juric’s plans, as La Viola look to build on the capture of Bayern Munich icon Franck Ribery, who moved to the Stadio Artemio Franchi as a free agent following his release by the Bavarian powerhouse. However, TuttoMercatoWEB understand the Tuscany outfit are not in the running, with Utrecht the only serious competition for Verona at present.
Neither of the three publications claiming interest in Lazaar have cited an official offer being placed by any of the alleged interest parties, but a move back to Italy would be perfect for the outcast defender and Newcastle.
Since joining the Magpies in 2016 from Palermo, the £900,000-rated left-back has been nothing more than a fringe option – and now one that is only eligible to play for United in cup games.
He also struggled to earn game time with Sheffield Wednesday while on loan in the Championship for the latter half of last season, making just four appearances for the Owls – albeit only six fewer than he has to his name with our first-team.
If the interest from Italy – a country where he made his career – is real, he must see it with a positive light, and call time on his Tyneside days.