Newcastle parting ways with their 29-year-old outcast would be the ideal decision for all parties

Why Newcastle should sanction Achraf Lazaar exit amid AC Milan links

According to claims from Italian outlet Sport Mediaset (h/t Chronicle Live), Newcastle United outcast Achraf Lazaar has emerged as a target for AC Milan.

As per the report, Newcastle are willing to offload the out-of-favour 29-year-old left-back this month. Lazaar hasn’t made it to the club’s 25-man Premier League squad for the season and is out of contract next summer.

However, it has been claimed that the player is trying to have his contract at St. James’ Park terminated to facilitate a departure in the final week of the window. Milan are in the market for a new left-back and view Lazaar as a low-cost back-up to first-choice Theo Hernandez.

BOLTON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 17: Achraf Lazaar of Newcastle United U21’s on the ball with Lloyd Isgrove of Bolton Wanderers during the EFL Trophy match between Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United U21 at University of Bolton Stadium on November 17, 2020, in Bolton, England. (Getty Images)

Lazaar’s struggles at Newcastle

Lazaar established himself as a quality left-back at Palermo in the Italian Serie A before completing a move to Newcastle in 2016. He made 9 appearances for the Magpies in his debut season as the club clinched the Championship title.

However, Lazaar wasn’t considered for selection in the top-flight by former manager Rafael Benitez, leaving the Moroccan to gather dust on the sidelines. That paved the way for a return to the Serie A on loan with Benevento, where he scored once in 9 appearances during the 2017-18 campaign.

The 29-year-old has spent time on loan at Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship and Cosenza in the Italian second-tier over the past two seasons. Lazaar has been restricted to a handful of appearances for Newcastle’s youth sides this term.

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Benevento’s defender Achraf Lazaar celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie a football match Benevento Calcio vs SS Lazio on october 29, 2017 at the Ciro Vigorito Stadium in Benevento. (Photo credit – CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

Termination of contract a fair settlement?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that things have gone horrible wrong for Achraf Lazaar at Newcastle. The Moroccan international hasn’t played a league fixture for the Magpies for over three seasons, which pretty much sums up how far down the pecking order he is.

With Jamal Lewis, Javier Manquillo and Paul Dummett all competing for places at left-back in Bruce’s set-up, Lazaar’s situation looks unlikely to change between now and the end of the season. Hence, it would make perfect sense for Newcastle to make a concrete decision on his future.

In an ideal world, Newcastle should look to bag some sort of a fee for the player in the current window, considering that he’s out of contract next summer. However, that looks almost impossible to happen with Lazaar’s career very much in a downward spiral in recent years. 

TURIN, ITALY – NOVEMBER 05: Gonzalo Higuain (L) of Juventus is challenged by Achraf Lazaar of Benevento during the Serie A match between Juventus and Benevento Calcio on November 5, 2017, in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Newcastle are destined to lose him in the summer anyway and parting ways with the player now would at least help them trim down the wage bill to some extent. The 29-year-old clearly doesn’t have a future at the club and allowing him to seek greener pastures should be in the best interests of all parties involved. 

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Verdict

Newcastle have already taken steps to clear the deadwood from their ranks in the January window. Rolando Aarons completed a move to Huddersfield Town and sanctioning an exit for Achraf Lazaar would certainly help Newcastle make room for some quality signings in the summer.

Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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Sayan Chatterjee