Newcastle United defender Achraf Lazaar has admitted he harbours a serious desire to return from his loan spell at Serie A side Benevento next season to play for the Magpies in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old left-back joined Newcastle from Palermo in the summer of 2016, but struggled to hold down a starting position in the Magpies' Championship season as he made just nine appearances.
Although Rafa Benitez is said to have wanted Lazaar to stay with the club this season, there was a lack of guaranteed senior football which led the defender to seeking a loan spell.
Despite having impressed with Benevento so far this season, nine appearances to date, the 25-year-old insisted his plan is to return to England in the summer as the Italian outfit do not have the ability to sign him permanently.
He told Tribalfootball: "No options [to make the deal permanent], nothing at all. Furthermore, I can tell you one thing: Newcastle didn’t even want me to go away on loan. It was me. I let them understand that I really cared about playing more minutes.
"The most important thing, in my opinion, for a football player is playing the more minutes possible, in order to have the right concentration, the right focus that you have on the matches.
I really don't know why we sent you out on loan i thought you were brilliant— Owen (@NUFC_Owen47) November 24, 2017
"You can even train a lot, you can train a lot on the extras and I do it very much, but the matches are different. And that was what I missed very much. This is why I decided to come back on loan to Italy. I wanted to find again the Lazaar I was, in the league where I was born, in order to come back to Newcastle much stronger than before.”
Although having been with the Magpies for just one season, Lazaar revealed both the manager and his teammates keep in close contact.
He added: “I have a wonderful relationship with the guys at Newcastle, we have a group on WhatsApp, I follow them and they follow me because I really feel one of them.
"Besides, I have a five years contract with them! When you sign a contract for five years with a club, you feel like a son and they become your family. I receive many messages for every match I play from Rafa Benitez and it really gives me pleasure.
"I appreciate him so much, he is a great manager who has won a lot. I haven’t had so much space with him last year, but I just needed to adapt myself. Now I need to put minutes in my legs, to play and to find what I was lacking last year.”