Watford are close to signing former Newcastle United full-back Achraf Lazaar until the end of the season, the Watford Observer understands.

The Moroccan defender was released by the Magpies during the January transfer window and has been on the lookout for a new club since.

He was part of the Newcastle squad that won the Championship in 2016/17 and will become the third former Newcastle player to join the Hornets this season after goalkeeper Rob Elliot and midfielder Dan Gosling also arrived.

Picture: Action Images

Picture: Action Images

Former head coach Vladimir Ivic insisted from the beginning of the season that a new left-back was needed with Adam Masina out injured for several weeks. However, the club were happy to wait for their first choice left-sided defender to return and play others out of position in his absence.

Lazaar's arrival shows they have perhaps since changed their mind on the issue, with recent knocks to Masina, Ken Sema and Kiko Femenia forcing head coach Xisco Munoz to field a side with Jeremy Ngakia out of position on the left and Marc Navarro in at right back.

It is understood he will initially join until the end of the season, with the option to extend his contract for another year.