Newcastle pulled off a bit of a coup to convince Valentino Lazaro to sign in January despite interest from a club like RB Leipzig.
Lazaro had just moved to Inter Milan in the summer from Hertha Berlin for over £20m. It was a big move for the Austrian that soon went south.
New Inter coach Antonio Conte didn’t give the 23-year-old many opportunities in the first half of the season. He made just 3 starts in Serie A. It soon became apparent that there were no guarantees the second half of the season would provide many more chances for Lazaro.
With the European Championships taking place in the summer, Valentino was desperate for first-team football. It’s not often that Austria qualifies for the competition and Lazaro needed to be playing games to get a place in the squad.
Inter allowed the right wing-back to go on loan, and Lazaro’s agent Max Hagmayr went to work. He flew into to Newcastle for the Chelsea match and that experience seemed to have really had an impact on him.
Lazaro was also impressed with what he heard from Newcastle, and despite interest from a team vying for a Bundesliga title in Leipzig, he opted to come to Newcastle on loan.
There were some reports after the move that Hagmayr had said that Lazaro’s future intent was to return to Inter to fight for his place this summer.
However, the Chronicle have conducted an interview with Hagmayr and he reveals that Lazaro is still on a high since joining Newcastle.
“He’s very happy to be in Newcastle. It’s a top club. We also had very good talks with RB Leipzig and other clubs, but we decided to go to Newcastle because Steve Bruce gave the boy a very good feeling, and the talks and negotiations with Lee Charnley were good.
“The other clubs also told him he would play – all the clubs said the same ahead of the European Championships – and it was not about money because he could have earned the same at every club.
“It was the small things that made you feel that this might be the right club.
“It was how Steve Nickson introduced the club and how they made the decision to go for Valentino. He was very well-prepared. They were checking Valentino, and this gives you a good feeling.
“Not only that, they like the player, and they want him, but they made the decision for him, and that made him feel safe after the six months at Inter.
“When I see Valentino now and how happy he is, I know we did a few things right coming here. We will see what’s going on in the next few months, but first of all we have to live in the now.
“I would not say no [to a permanent deal] because we appreciate everything Newcastle is doing for Valentino.”
It’s great to hear how Steve Nickson, Steve Bruce, and Lee Charnley all played a vital role in wooing Valentino to Newcastle. It seems like he is just thrilled with his experience so far.
Lazaro is quite active on social media so he’ll be a player that Newcastle fans will hear a lot from. He’s already tweeted a few times about his first training session and his debut against Norwich.
Newcastle have an option to make Lazaro’s stay a permanent one this summer for around £20m. However, they would also have to convince the player to stay.
Hopefully, Lazaro will have a very productive and enjoyable next couple of months, which could see Newcastle climb the Premier League table as well as continue the FA Cup run.
If that happens, he may decide once again that Newcastle United is the best club for him.