Perez – who has openly admitted that he’d like to return to Spain at some stage – has hinted that offers for his services are imminent this summer, stating he has a ‘difficult decision’ to make.
Starting with Ayoze’s comments below, it seems to me like he knows La Liga sides are set to make bids in the coming months – so Rafa’s future could play a huge part in keeping him at the club:
“In the summer there will be options. I can hear what is coming for me, what they offer me, but it doesn’t mean I am going to leave 100 per cent at the end of the season.
“It is going to be a difficult decision. It depends on a lot of things.”
That last line suggests to me that he may well stay if Rafa signs and the club start to show ambition, but it seems he could well follow Benitez out the door if nothing can be agreed.
Despite him somehow being a love or hate player amongst Newcastle fans (although I feel that ‘haters’ have disappeared of late), he is a player who’d be hugely missed, with his work rate, scoring of vital goals and ability to fit in Rafa’s systems always coming to the fore over the past three seasons now.
Then to Diame.
The Senegalese midfielder confirms that he must start TWO of our final THREE games to get a contract extension, but admits that there’s been somewhat of a dispute with the club over his current deal, with him preferring a two-year stay.
Given his lack of starts – meaning two in the last three seem unlikely to activate contract clause – and the apparent impasse with the club over the two-year deal he wants, it sounds like he could be off.
Here’s what he’s had to say in an open and honest interview:
“The situation is still the same: I need two more starts to get one extra year.
“But, I spoke with the club, and when we were talking about my contract, I asked for two years, and they don’t want that.
“Because we know what they want for this club; it’s difficult to get an extension when you are over 30 here.
“It’s not a problem for me; it’s football and part of the job.
“If I get the opportunity to stay, I will stay and, if not, I will go somewhere else and enjoy my football.”
“I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can because it’s amazing playing here with all the fans, and more when we’ve got an atmosphere like this and we are winning games.
“So, I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can and, after, we’ll see what happen
“I will be fine, of course. As I’ve said, being a player who played for ten years in this country – it opens you a lot of doors. I will be fine.
“But, as I’ve said since the beginning: I’m so happy here and I’m enjoying my days in Newcastle. So, we will see.”
For all the criticism they’ve received at times earlier in the season, some may want to be careful what they wish for with regards to Perez and Diame, being two hard working players who do a good job in Benitez’s team.