Achraf Lazaar arrived at Newcastle United from Palermo in 2016, and in his debut season in England, the Magpies were playing in the Championship.

Rafael Benítez was then in charge of the Tyneside club, and the defender made only four league appearances in his first campaign at St James’ Park.

Since then, the Morocco international has been out on loan to Benevento, Sheffield Wednesday and Serie B side Cosenza.

The 28-year-old struggled with injuries in the first half of last season, and was in and out of Cosenza’s starting XI in this calendar year. Lazaar has revealed why he went out on loan to a second division club in Italy.

“I went down in the category [to Serie B] because I wanted to play 30 games , even if I gave up part of my salary,” he told TuttoMercatoWeb.

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“Newcastle wanted to keep me, then when the market was about to be closed they told me that I wasn’t in the team plan.

“Last year was a special year. I was interested in being well. I am happy for the salvation of the team, I have received so much affection from my teammates and from the squad. They treated me like a great player.”

He’s now returned to his parent club, training under the orders of Steve Bruce. However, the left-back’s desire is to leave the Premier League club on a permanent transfer this summer.

“We are negotiating. It’s a team that hasn’t valued me as I deserved and I don’t think they would this season. I feel ready, fit, ready to play,” the fullback explained.

“It will be my year. And whoever catches me does bingo, because I’m charged and motivated. And everyone knows what a player I am.”

Lazaar didn’t hold back when being critical about Newcastle, and when further quizzed on why he didn’t get an opportunity to prove his worth, the player said: “I don’t know. Really. Certainly, not for technical reasons, I have always been one hundred percent professional.

“Maybe in the first few games I had to adapt. But thanks to this experience I have matured.”

Lazaar has now set his sights on returning to Italy this summer.

“My family and I are in love with Italy. I want to marry a new project. To get into English football you have to be a complete footballer, I got into it and that means I have every right to become a great player,” the defender stressed.