Date: 21st June 2019 at 11:30am
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OPINION

Once relegated from the Premier League, clubs must make certain adjustments to their squads with many top-flight players not wanting to take the step down – a fact that Newcastle had to deal with in 2016.

Players such as Giorginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko left St James’ Park, as Rafael Benitez was left with a rebuilding job at the Magpies. One of the players to join that season was Achraf Lazaar, arriving at the club from Palermo in a deal worth £2.5million.

Despite only just arriving in the North East, the Moroccan international only managed to play 36 minutes in the Championship that season, with Benitez leading the club back to the top-flight in his attempt.

Numerous loan moves followed for the 27-year-old, with a temporary stay in Benevento being followed by a loan move to Sheffield Wednesday last season.

These loan moves don’t seem to have deterred Lazaar from fighting for his place at the club, with the Chronicle reporting that the left-back has asked for another chance to prove himself at the club after using the summer break to return to full fitness.

Benitez can not allow this to happen, and he must look to sanction a move away for the defender in this transfer window.

Lazaar only managed to make four appearances at Sheffield Wednesday last campaign, failing to make a lasting impression on Steve Bruce. Looking at the Moroccan’s stats via WhoScored, you can pinpoint how he would not fit into Newcastle’s system under Benitez.

With Benitez adapting to a five at the back formation, his wing-backs are now arguably his most important players, and despite impressing defensively, Lazaar does not offer enough in an attacking sense to justify retaining him.

The 27-year-old loses control of the ball on average 2.3 times per game while only managing to deliver a single key pass every two outings. The role of the full-back has changed dramatically in recent years and Lazaar does not have the ability on the ball to keep up.

When detailing his passing stats, his case to stay at the club becomes weaker. The former Palermo man struggles in possession and only averages 23 passes per-game, proving he doesn’t have the ability to play in a team that wants to keep hold of the ball and pass quickly.

With a passing success of only 75%, one of every four passes misses it’s intended target. Lazaar has only ever played 10 times for Newcastle, and these stats prove he should be moved on this summer.