Achraf Lazaar – one of the most bizarre and forgettable signings in Newcastle United history – now has a new club, with it announced yesterday that he’d signed for Watford for the rest of the season.
I never wish ill on any player that came to the Toon and failed so I hope it works out for him, but to say his career at Newcastle was bizarre may be one of the biggest understatements every.
We beat Fiorentina to the signing of the ‘highly-rated’ Serie A left-back and gave him a reported wage packet of £35,000 over five years.
The actual fee was never disclosed but it was rumoured that it was about £2.5m. We needed a left back, he was a Moroccan international and looked like a good fit. Yet it felt like he was immediately written off and cast aside virtually from day 1.
Even when we’ve had a crisis at LB for so many years he remained unpicked and overlooked so often. He actually played just 10 times in the four and half years he was at Newcastle.
Last season under Bruce many thought he might make a breakthrough. He was taken on the Far East Tour and started a game, plus Bruce signed him on loan for Sheffield Wednesday not long before he got NUFC job (and Owls fans loved him!) and yet he never got a look in under Bruce when we returned from our pre-season stint in China.
Other loan spells at Cosenza (Serie B) and Benevento in Italy, hardly household huge clubs, didn’t work out and despite all that he was somehow called up to the Moroccan squad last year despite his lack of game time.
Something somewhere tells me that there may be a player in there so it will be interesting to see how he does now he’s at Watford. But what is certain is that bizarre is very much the word to describe his time on Tyneside and the way it all worked out.
Was he even a Rafa signing and what was it that made both Benitez and Bruce banish him from first-team duties?