It will come as a surprise to no one if Achraf Lazaar is no longer a Newcastle United player by the time August becomes September.
The fact that the Moroccan left-back’s four Championship appearances all came from the bench last season didn’t exactly hide the fact that Rafael Benitez was less than convinced by the 2016 signing from Palermo.
Lazaar admitted that he could leave Newcastle after just one season in May, with The Chronicle reporting that the left-back is eying a return to Italy or even a move to Spain.
Lazaar's only starts came in the cups
Two months on, however, Lazaar is still a Newcastle player but for how much longer remains to be seen. The Chronicle adds that the 25-year-old has been excluded from The Magpies’ pre-season trip to Ireland alongside fellow exit-linked team-mates Tim Krul and Manu Riviere.
Newcastle are yet to sign another left-back to compete with the overused Paul Dummett but, regardless of their lack of summer additions, it appears that Lazaar is destined for the exit.
However, in a surprise twist, it now appears less clear-cut that Henri Saivet will follow him out the door. The French midfielder, brought to the club in January 2016 from Bordeaux, was given the chance to impress against Hearts on Friday.
One in, one out
“You always have to see if players have improved or if they have changed something – or if they have grown,” Benitez told The Chronicle of Newcastle’s returning loanees, including Saivet who spent last season at St Etienne.
Saivet has only ever started two league games for Newcastle
Saivet was excluded from the squad almost immediately after Benitez arrived at St James’ Park in March last year and was farmed out as soon as the transfer window opened.
However, it appears that a second chance may be coming his way.