Newcastle signed left-back Achraf Lazaar from Palermo for around £3M late in the summer transfer window and when he eventually was unveiled as a Newcastle player he said that he had spoken with Rafa Benitez about the future – and after that he was (very) keen to join Newcastle United.
So much sio that he turned down Fiorentina to join us.
Achraf has yet to make his debut for Newcastle, but Rafa said in his Monday press conference that he may use Lazaar and another full-back signing, American DeAndre Yedlin on the wings.
One reason he signed the players was that they were versatile.
Achraf Lazaar with manager Rafa Benitez
Achraf Lazaar has been interviewed on the TMW web-site and he seems to just love it at Newcastle:
“Playing in England has always been my dream, it is the right season for me.” “In Sicily too many changes, so many situations and then Benitez’ called me.”
“To receive a call from an important coach like Benitez ,and he spoke to me in a truly humble way, was something unexpected and important.”
“He has won so much, is one of the strongest coaches in the world.” “I could only say ‘yes sir. I am here’.”
“I saw the facilities, the environment is very different from Italy.” “This an amazing organisation (Newcastle), a beautiful stadium and fantastic fans.”
“Here in Serie B (second division in England) there are 52,000 fans – just fantastic.”
“They treated me very well from day one, here as a player you feel 100%.” “Here you can grow and get where you couldn’t even imagine – there are no limits.”
“I had to choose between Newcastle and Fiorentina – Fiorentina are a great club, but my head and my family have told me – ‘go to Newcastle’.”
“England has always been my dream, then Newcastle will go in the Premier League and it has everything to be great. “
“Palermo has given me so much they have great fans, great people.” “I felt really at home, they loved me and made me grow as a player.”
“But the last time I did not feel good any more” “There was too much confusion, so many changes of coach, which is never good.”
“Last year we had to take on 9 different ideas, it was not easy. The fans were disappointed, we who had just won Serie B felt hurt.“
“I hope it’s not a season of suffering for Palermo. I do not want to say anything, so as not to bring them bad luck.”
“I will build my future only thinking of the present – you never know what can happen – maybe I’ll end my career at Newcastle or elsewhere.
“Today I want to give my all for Newcastle, who have believed in me and who have shown that with actions and not just words.”
Rafa has not only managed to bring in 12 good players over the summer and made a profit of £31M in the process, but the lads are all great characters who are hungry for success and want to be on Tyneside.
That has to be very good for the long term future of both the team and the club.