Star once linked to Crystal Palace and Arsenal nets screamer in Italy

Stadio Renzo Barbera

Achraf Lazaar’s agent has compared the Palermo left-back to Gareth Bale and he has netted a goal the Welshman would be proud of in Serie A.

Newly-promoted Palermo have been one of the surprise success stories of the Serie A season so far in Italy, and while much of the focus has been on striker Paulo Dybala there have been plenty of others who have played a part.

Dubbed "the new Sergio Aguero" by Rosonero president Maurizio Zamparini upon his arrival, the 21-year-old’s 13 goals in the Italian top-flight this term have been a major reason why the Sicilian club currently finds itself 11th in the table.

Linked to Arsenal in recent times, with the Express amongst those claiming the Gunners are lining up a £57 million bid, Dybala is not the only player to be scoring goals at Palermo having attracted some rather favourable comparisons in the past.

Step forward former Varese left-back Achraf Lazaar, who arrived at Palermo halfway through their promotion campaign from Serie B last season and has adapted to the demands of Serie A with relative ease.

Prior to his Palermo move, the Casablanca-born Morocco international had caught the attentions of Arsenal, with TMW linking the Gunners to a move for the full-back, who is still only 23.

Quotes republished on the website Soccer News backed up the links, with Lazaar’s agent Ali Barat telling the radio broadcaster that there had been "a lot of interest" from clubs around Europe, before comparing his charge to one former English top-flight star.

"He’s very similar to Gareth Bale in terms of pace and athleticism. I think he will be a big player in the Premier League very soon," he told TalkSPORT in quotes published in the TMW article.

Whether such comparisons ring true remains to be seen, but the full-back certainly appears popular, with fellow London club Crystal Palace also thought to have been keen.

Back in December of last year, the Daily Mail published a report claiming the Eagles had launched a £1.8 million bid to bring the Palermo defender to Selhurst Park.

And while Lazaar ultimately remained in Serie A, the interest surrounding the 23-year-old is only likely to increase on current form.

Already a goalscorer with a slightly fortuitous speculative effort against Napoli earlier this term, Lazaar added to his tally with a superb strike for Palermo in a 3-1 victory over Udinese.

With the goal proving reminiscent of one late winner by Gareth Bale against West Ham in his Tottenham Hotspur heyday, maybe those comparisons were not as absurd as first thought.

One thing is for sure though: the Premier League is watching.

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