Mike Ashley must end Achraf Lazaar’s stay at Newcastle United during the January transfer window amid speculative interest from Serie A leaders AC Milan.
According to Sport Mediaset, the Rossoneri are exploring a potential deal for Lazaar to move to the San Siro in the closing stages of the mid-season market to provide cover for Theo Hernandez.
Lazaar’s agent is currently negotiating his release from the Magpies ahead of the £9,000-per-week dud becoming a free agent at the end of the campaign, and the player is therefore seen by Milan chiefs as a cheap option who would likely accept a back-up role in Stefano Pioli’s plans.
Milan are not thought to be the only side interested in signing Lazaar if he is released this month, following claims by TuttoMercatoWEB that the Moroccan will be allowed to secure a free transfer as his agent, Mohammed Sinouh, shares a good relationship with Newcastle.
Lazaar is yet to play a single minute of first-team football this season after being omitted from Steve Bruce’s 25-man Premier League squad. He last featured for the Toon’s Under 23s side during a 3-2 EFL Trophy defeat at League Two Bolton Wanderers in November after three outings in the PL2.
A thigh injury thwarted parts of Lazaar’s one-year loan spell with Serie B outfit Cosenza Calcio last term, where he featured just nine times, meaning that the £300,000-rated outcast last made double-figure league appearances in the 2015/16 campaign with Palermo FC.
Newcastle appear to have grown resigned to the fact that they will not make back any of the £2m spent to sign Lazaar from Palermo in the summer of 2016, and thus, they have no reason to stand in the 18-cap Morocco international’s way if Milan look to sign him before Deadline Day.
Lazaar was brought to St. James’ Park with a view to helping the Toon get back into the Premier League but failed to cut the grade in the Championship, and never looked likely to be given a chance in the top-flight thanks to a string of failed loan moves.
A year with Benevento returned just nine appearances, a move to Sheffield Wednesday gave four and a spell in the Italian second-tier with Cosenza again just nine. All the while failing to feature on Tyneside and he is now likely to leave having played just 10 games in four-and-a-half-years across all competitions.
Bruce was even in charge of Sheffield Wednesday when Lazaar signed for the Owls, yet omitted the 29-year-old from 10 squads despite claiming to be “delighted” with how the Newcastle flop had taken to life at Hillsborough.
Had Lazaar been given anything more than a £9k-p/w contract when signed in 2016, totalling £2m spent on his wages to date, he may have been even more costly to Newcastle but the fact remains, he has been a waste of £4m when combining his transfer fee and wages.
Now, January simply must spell the end of the road for the left-back whilst someone is willing to take his services off the Toon’s hands.
AND in other news, Newcastle may have found Steve Bruce’s ideal midfielder in a £1.9k-p/w target.