Achraf Lazaar free from Newcastle nightmare with loan move to Benevento

Achraf Lazaar has returned to Italy on loan with Benevento - ending his Newcastle United nightmare.

The 25-year-old joined from Palermo last season for a fee worth around €3.5million to assist the Magpies’ promotion push.

However, things didn’t go to plan as boss Rafael Benitez limited the player to just nine appearances, most of which came in cup competitions.

One year ago – Lazaar’s arrival

Benitez was quick to praise Lazaar when he joined last summer, he said: "Achraf is a good, young player with international experience who has grown his game in Italy.

“He gives us width on the left, has a good left foot and will add great competition to the squad.”

Lazaar commented on the move: “I am very happy to be at Newcastle United. I'm proud to sign here because Newcastle is a great team in England.”

But the move worked out for neither club nor player and his transfer away from the North East this summer comes as little surprise.

Uncertain deadline day

Due to the Magpies interest in Southampton’s Matt Targett, Lazaar was uncertain as to whether he would be allowed to leave the club.

But as Newcastle thought they were edging closer to secure Targett on loan, Lazaar was given permission to travel to Benevento and complete a loan deal.

Still, Benitez's side suffered another blow as the club failed to finalise a deal for Targett. By that point, it was too late to postpone Lazaar's move.

Return to Italy

The left-sided Moroccan returns to Italy in hope of recapturing the form that first attracted the interest of Newcastle.

Lazaar first tasted success with Serie B side Varese after working his way up through the youth system.

In 2012, the Italian-born defender made his professional debut – establishing himself as a first-team regular with 42 appearances in two years. Lazaar’s performances saw Palermo come calling in 2014.

He joined Palermo at a difficult time following their relegation from Serie A but was able to help the club bounce back to the Italian top-flight at the first attempt.

Overall, Lazaar scored three goals in 76 appearances in Sicily.