As you may have seen last week, Ayoze Perez hinted during an interview in his homeland that he could leave for La Liga – stating “the time has come” after 5 years on Tyneside.
Rafa’s insisted that he’s not concerned, suggesting Ayoze isn’t about to force for a move this summer, but his comments hardly sound like a man keep to stay at St James’ Park much longer.
The likes of Real Betis and Real Sociedad were heavily linked with a move for him just last summer, with Ayoze admitting himself in a recent interview that he’d like to return to Spain one day – and it seems that day may come sooner than expected if his latest comments are anything to go by:
“I believe in career cycles and when one is close to ending you start to plan things. It’s the moment for a change. And probably this is that moment.
“Going back to your country and playing for a big team and being able to enjoy playing La Liga would be a good thing for my career.”
“My idea is to return to Spanish football, I want to play for a big club in La Liga, that would be great for my career.
“I have adapted to this league and have good goalscoring numbers but life here is not as good as in Spain.”
Perez, who arrived from Tenerife almost 5 years ago, still has a contract until the summer of 2021 and has become a key man under the guidance of manager Rafa Benitez. He understandably has his detractors amongst Newcastle fans, as during his time here can often drift in games and appear weak and gives the ball away needlessly.
He has however looked a different player since the arrival of Almiron – having both the Paraguayan and Rondon to occupy space has allowed Perez to flourish and hit a real purple patch in form – no more so than his pivotal two goals in that great win over Everton and SJP. He is still only 24 and will get better – some pundits, like former Liverpool attacker Luis Garcia, have even claimed it is time Perez is given a call up to the full Spanish side.
His work rate on the field and loyalty to the club has to be admired and in an area of the field we still need more quality and numbers in, I don’t think Perez is a player we can afford to lose – especially in the Ashley era of penny pinching. It is still also worth considering that quite often comments like these from Perez can be brinkmanship to get a better contract, having two years left is the prime time to sign a new deal or cash in, so don’t be surprised to see Perez stay this summer if Benitez does.
Hopefully we can add more quality and options around him too but with so much uncertainty at Newcastle off the field at the moment, who knows what will happen.