The agent of Achraf Lazaar has told the Italian media Fiorentina had an agreement with Palermo to sign the defender, but he turned this down to join Newcastle United. At the weekend the 24-year-old joined the Championship side after Newcastle United’s late interest in the Morocco international.

TMW have reported on comments agent Andrea Cattoli made to TV station SportItalia when he was asked about Lazaar’s decision to join Newcastle United. Cattoli said despite the agreement with Fiorentina he and the player flew to England once they knew of the interest from the North East side.

Cattoli confirmed Lazaar held talks with Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez, and from those meetings the left back decided to head to England.

“Fiorentina had reached an agreement with Palermo for Lazaar. I flew to England because there was the interest of Newcastle, Lazaar spoke with Benitez and the boy chose to fly to England,” said the player’s agent.

Lazaar signed a five-year deal with Newcastle United on Sunday for a reported £2m fee. Palermo were keen to sell the player his summer due to his contract situation, and he was also being followed by West Ham United.