Newcastle United defender Achraf Lazaar has joined Italian Serie B side Cosenza on a season-long loan.
The 27-year-old Moroccan joined United from Palermo in 2016, but has struggled to make an impression on Tyneside, and spent the second half of last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday under current Toon boss Steve Bruce.
Despite that, Bruce saw fit to omit Lazaar from his 25-man Premier League squad, and as such, a summer exit has seemed likely for some time.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, truth be told. Lazaar has been on the periphery of Bruce’s plans since he came through the door, and his omission from the Premier League squad for this season pretty much signed the execution order on his departure. Perhaps the only shock will be that Lazaar has dropped down to the Italian second division. He may not have reinvented the wheel at Wednesday last term, but he was solid enough in his four appearances, averaging 4.3 interceptions, two clearances, and 1.8 tackles per match, as per Whoscored. Those stats should be enough to suggest that he has a little bit of quality about him, and certainly enough to justify more than a Serie B move. As for going out on loan, it feels like a placeholder before a permanent move can be found. His time with Newcastle is surely over, and it is only a matter of time before he is shipped out for good.