Some strange and unexpected news today about Achraf Lazaar, the left-sided player who was on loan to Benevento for the season.
It turns out the Serie A club, who are bottom the league with 10 points from 25 games signed full-back Bacary Sagna as a free agent and they needed to make room for him in their squad.
So the 26-year-old Moroccan International has been replaced in the Benevento squad, and will not be able to play for the Italian club again this season.
The reports out of Italy suggest the Benevento coach Roberto De Zerbi does not rate Lazaar and left him out of the squad.
Achraf Lazaar – frozen out at Benevento
Lazaar played fairly regularly until last November when he has been left out of the squad with De Zerbi questioning his fitness.
Lazaar has played only 9 games with one goal for Benevento this season.
After Rafa signed him from Palermo 18 months ago Achraf really couldn’t make the first team and he played only 10 times for the Newcastle first team.
There was an option to buy Achraf in the summer for £3M but that will obviously not be taken up now by the Serie A club.
The best Newcastle can do is to loan him out for next season, which will be the third year of his five year contract at Newcastle.
Achraf Lazaar did not turn out to be a good signing by Rafa Benitez.
Rafa and Lee Charnley will need to send a number of players out on loan again this summer.
But some – like Jesus Gamez and Sadio Haidara – have contracts which run out in June and they will leave Newcastle permanently.