Achraf Lazaar disaster means Newcastle United must ward off Lewis Gibson interest

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Everton and Celtic are reportedly hoping to take Lewis Gibson from Newcastle United - but Rafael Benitez may need him around.

Newcastle's Achraf Lazaar

No one could claim to be surprised to learn that Achraf Lazaar is mulling over leaving Newcastle United this summer, as reported by The Chronicle.

After all, the Moroccan international has made just four substitute appearances in the Championship since arriving in England from Serie A outfit Palermo last summer. Injuries have certainly played their part but it appears that manager Rafael Benitez is deeply unconvinced.

However, Lazaar’s exit would leave Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara as the club's only senior left-backs. And it's fair to say the injury-stricken latter, with just 77 minutes of football under his belt this season and his contract expiring next summer, hardly appears a long-term option for Benitez.

Therefore, perhaps Newcastle should do everything in their power to ensure that talented teenager Lewis Gibson does not leave St James’ Park this summer.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton are battling interest from Celtic, Manchester United and Arsenal for the signature of one of the most exciting prospects to emerge from the North East in recent seasons.

Toffees’ director of football, Steve Walsh, has been scouring the country in search of highly-rated talents and Gibson could fit the bill while also providing a new back-up option to Leighton Baines (below) after Bryan Oviedo departed for Sunderland in January.

Everton's Leighton Baines celebrates scoring their second goal

However, the lack of options at Benitez’s disposal means Newcastle must put plans in place to keep Gibson on Tyneside long-term.

After all, fellow left-back Dummett is the most recently player to come through the club’s strangely unproductive academy and make his name in the first-team. So Gibson could provide some much needed local spirit whilst also ensuring that Lazaar’s likely departure is handled quickly and effectively.

Newcastle United's Achraf Lazaar in action with Hull City's Robert Snodgrass

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