Mike Ashley must accept a mammoth transfer loss in the January window and offload Newcastle United outcast defender Achraf Lazaar.
While speaking with Passione Inter, Lazaar has revealed how he cannot wait to secure a new challenge away from St. James’ Park having struggled for playing time under Steve Bruce.
The Moroccan was omitted from the Toon’s Premier League squad and told to train with the club’s Under 23s upon his return from a loan spell with Serie B side Cosenza Calcio this summer.
Cosenza passed on the chance to purchase Lazaar at the end of his year on loan, leaving Bruce to inform the player and his agent that now is the time he finds a “new home” after just 10 outings for Newcastle since joining from Palermo in 2016 for £2million.
No deal was struck, leaving Lazaar – whose £32,000-per-week is due to expire next summer – to look fondly on a winter move with his Tyneside future as good as over already.
“It’s true, it’s not easy and I’m not finding space with the first-team, but I have many reasons not to give up. I still have one year on my contract and I still have a lot to prove,” he said.
“Italy is my home and I miss my family, I don’t know what will happen in January, if maybe I will go to Italy or elsewhere: the only thing that matters to me is to go to a team that allows me to play with continuity and confidence. My agent [Mohammed Sinouh] is taking care of it.
“I would like to take back everything I have lost in the last few years. I know I have lost something, but I have also gained a lot, I have learned a lesson in life and experience. And I can’t wait to start a new challenge.”
If Ashley is to avoid a total loss on the £2m investment he made in 2016 and the £7.1m spent in wages, the Newcastle owner must sanction a January move despite knowing full well that he is set for a mammoth hit with Lazaar now valued by TransferMarkt at just £315,000.
Lazaar’s value is a mere 15.6% of the fee Ashley offered Palermo four years ago, but any hopes of avoiding a loss have been thrown out of the window by the 28-year-old failing to feature regularly at St. James’ Park.
He could not establish himself with Italian second-tier outfit Cosenza, either, with just nine outings to his name across all competitions last season of which Lazaar started only four, ensuring Bruce saw fit to omit the 18-cap Morocco international from his 25-man squad.
Ashley will find it impossible to argue the reasons behind demanding any substantial fee in the winter if he is to avoid losing the flop for free at the end of the campaign, which is the only eventuality guaranteed to happen after limited interest this summer.