Early on Monday, a report emerged that Achraf Lazaar regretted his move to Newcastle in 2016. Sport Witness wrote an article with some comments from the 28-year-old, who is currently on loan to Serie B’s Calcio Cosenza.
This is what the article said Lazaar told Italian journalist Nicolo Schira via Instagram:
“In the summer of 2016, Fiorentina wanted me, but my dream as a kid was to play in England. It was Rafa Benitez, who had arrived from Real Madrid.
“He really wanted me, and his pressing convinced me.
“There were great ambitions: there was talk of building a squad to win the Premier League in the space of a few years.
“It’s too bad he played me very little. In hindsight, Newcastle wasn’t the right choice, unfortunately”.
We don’t see too much controversy in the Moroccan’s statement. Other than the part about ‘great ambition’ and ‘winning the Premier League’, Lazaar’s statement seems a very accurate one considering his circumstances.
Though we have little doubt that Mike Ashley fed Rafa Benitez promises of grandeur to keep the Spaniard at the club after spelunking down a division.
Achraf Lazaar joined Newcastle in the summer of 2016 from Palermo when we were in the Championship. To date, he’s made only 10 appearances. So that is the textbook definition of him making the wrong choice, especially if a club like Fiorentina were interested in him.
However, Lazaar has spoken to the Chronicle to clear up some of the comments attributed to him in the original report.
This is what he had to say:
“I’ve seen suggestions of Newcastle being a bad choice. I don’t know where it came from. It’s fake news.
“People are always talking about me and suggesting I’m saying bad things about Newcastle.
“But I’ve never said that. I love Newcastle, and if I chose Newcastle over Fiorentina in 2016, then that says it all for me.
“Newcastle still means something to me. People can talk or make me look bad.
“People who know me will tell you it’s bull**** that I made the wrong choice.”
Lazaar has one year remaining on the five-year contract he signed when joining Newcastle in 2016. He may be worried that his comments, if he really said them, could put him in hot water with Newcastle.
However, he was just saying what most observers already knew. His move to Newcastle was catastrophic for him. It has cost him basically four years of his career.
Since joining Newcastle, Lazaar has made just 31 first-team appearances for either Newcastle or his three loan clubs. We definitely don’t begrudge him if he regrets coming to Newcastle.