Championship side Reading have moved to take former Watford left-back Achraf Lazaar on trial this summer according to the Reading Chronicle, joining up with the first-team squad in Scotland.
During his five years in England with Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday and the Hornets, the Moroccan 29-year-old has rarely been given the chance to impress – but could finally get the game time he craves in Berkshire.
The Royals are yet to bring in a replacement for fellow left-back Omar Richards, who left the club on the expiry of his contract at the Madejski Stadium and sealed a remarkable move to Bayern Munich after becoming one of the standout players in the Championship last term.
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Because Richards left on a free transfer and the club are currently operating under a transfer embargo after overspending in recent years, the second-tier side only have limited resources to work with this season.
But with Lazaar being released by Watford in the summer after just six months, with the Hertfordshire side opting against triggering an extension on this deal, this is a potential transfer the club will be able to get over the line providing the 29-year-old is willing to negotiate a sensible wage.
The Royals are yet to make their first signing of the window – but former West Brom winger and fellow trialist Kyle Edwards is also in Scotland and the duo could become their first summer signings.
Free agents Yannick Bolasie and Junior Hoilett are additional names who have been linked with a move to the Madejski Stadium in the past week.
The Championship side only have 19-year-old Ethan Bristow and 18-year-old Imari Samuels as natural left-back options as it stands, with first-teamer Tom McIntyre able to step in and do a job in that position if necessary.
However, with captain Liam Moore currently away with Jamaica at the Gold Cup, manager Veljko Paunovic may want to utilise the 22-year-old more centrally alongside Michael Morrison in case their skipper sustains an injury in the next week or two.
This makes it vital for the Royals to recruit a left-back before the season starts. It might be a hard task to replace Richards who did so well last term – but it’s clear they would hugely benefit from having a more experienced left-back option there in front of youngsters Bristow and Samuels for the time being.
Lazaar has only played a limited amount of football in recent years but if he can impress in Scotland, he might be a decent signing with the limited resources the Championship side have.