24-year-old reveals why he rejected Italian giants to sign for Newcastle United

Achraf Lazaar has gone on to reveal that he joined Newcastle United over Fiorentina due to the influence of his family and manager Rafael Benitez.

Lazaar was courted by a host of top clubs this summer following his fine campaign with Palermo last term and Italian giants Fiorentina were believed to be very keen on securing the services of the 24-year-old.

A bit surprisingly though, Lazaar made a move to Newcastle United instead during the final days of the transfer window and while the Magpies are most certainly a big club, their status as a Championship side did not stop the defender from arriving at St. James’ Park.

Now Lazaar has gone on to explain his thinking behind the transfer to Newcastle by revealing that his family wanted him to join the Magpies and added that a phone call from Rafael Benitez was enough to convince him to snub the advances of Fiorentina in favour of Tyneside.

Lazaar told the Chronicle, “Playing in England has always been my dream, it is the right season for me. In Sicily, there were too many changes, and so many situations and so when Rafa Benitez called it was good for me.

“To receive the call from an important coach like Benitez – who spoke to me in a truly humble way – was something unexpected and important.

“He has won so much and is one of the strongest in the world. I could only say: ‘Yes sir. I am here’. I saw the facilities and the environment is very different from Italy. The is an amazing organisation, which has a beautiful stadium, fantastic fans.

“I had to choose between Newcastle and Fiorentina. Fiorentina are a great club, but my head and my family have told me, ‘Go to Newcastle’.

“England has always been my dream, then Newcastle will go in the Premier League and it has everything to be great. I build my future thinking of the present, you never know what can happen – maybe I’ll end my career at Newcastle or elsewhere.

“Today I want to give my all for Newcastle, who believed in me and who have shown that with actions, not words.”