Wednesday October 10 2018
Lazaar: ‘Genoa changed their minds’

Achraf Lazaar explains why his move to Genoa fell through, and claims Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez “doesn’t speak to me”.

The Moroccan was in Italy on transfer deadline day to join the Grifone, but the transfer collapsed and he returned to Tyneside.

“I would have been more than willing to play for Genoa, because it’s a great club with incredible players,” Lazaar told

“I know the team well, but [President Enrico] Preziosi decided otherwise. I don’t know what the reason behind his decision was but the President is the one who spends the money, and if he doesn’t want to invest in a certain player then I respect that.

“On the contrary, I thank him for being interested in me, and nothing has changed in terms of my opinion about them. If Genoa were to call me again, I wouldn’t hesitate to go there.”

Lazaar has been demoted to the Magpies’ reserve squad, and claims he’s never had any explanation from Benitez.

“It’s not a good time for me. I came to Newcastle to show what I can do, I wanted to raise the bar after my experience at Palermo and prove I could do even better. But it didn’t happen that way.

“Honestly I’m very disappointed, but I’m a professional so I accept the situation. I’m training with the reserve team and playing in the reserve league.

“I’ve provided three assists in the last two games. The reserve team coach and his staff are helping me a lot, all my teammates know I’m not in an easy situation and they try to motivate me.

“I’m training a lot, staying even after the sessions end because I’m not playing in the Premier League so I want to train even more to raise my level.

“I often talk with the lads from the first team and they feel sorry for me, many of them tell me that they’d like to have me in the team with them but I have to respect the Coach and his decision. If he’s decided this way he’ll have his reasons, which I respect.

“He doesn’t talk to me, he’s talked to my agent, Roberto De Fanti. I came to Newcastle hoping for something else, but if I’m not playing then he’ll have his reasons.

“I’ve done everything I can to convince him, not being in the Coach’s plans or not being liked by him is a situation I’ve never been in before.

“The other Coaches I’ve worked with always spoke to me and told me I had the qualities to play for a top team. Unfortunately it’s not that way with Benitez.

“If I’m doing something wrong in his opinion I’ll keep training as hard as possible and giving my all to play.

“I’m not in his plans, but I can’t say why. Whatever his reasons though I respect them, because he’s a great Coach who has won everything, and someone I can only learn from.

“I trained hard all summer to get at least half a chance to prove to Benitez that he was wrong about me.

“On social media a lot of people write to me and tell me that they’d like to see me play, that there’s a place in the first team for me, and that makes me happy.

“These statements of esteem and confidence come in spite of the fact I haven’t yet had the chance to show Newcastle who I am and how I can play.

“They haven’t got to know who Lazaar is, but they haven’t forgotten me.

“There’s still time for January, my agent will speak with the club. Personally I’m just training hard every day to be ready for whatever happens, because when the Coach tells me that he needs me I’ll have to be 100 per cent ready.”

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