Safe to say that Ayoze Perez is one of the biggest surprise success stories at St James Park and also one of the most popular.
Arriving from Tenerife and the Spanish second tier, many Newcastle fans wondered with the profile of the ‘Spanish waiter’, just what he could offer the Premier League…?
Bought as ‘one for the future’, in typical Newcastle United style Ayoze Perez was thrown in at the deep end on the opening day of the season against Manchester City as a substitute.
The ‘one for the future’ going on to make 36 appearances as a starter and as a sub in his first season. His seven goals proving vital in the relegation fight and now this season he has scored five despite playing in a more withdrawn role, only Wijnaldum scoring more.
Supporters have been buoyed by the four new signings in January but arguably the most popular news, was the announcement on Monday that Ayoze Perez had signed an improved and extended contract which takes him up to summer 2021.
The striker says that hard work is the secret of his success and one of the biggest factors in signing the new deal, is that from day one Newcastle Upon Tyne has felt like home.
Ayoze Perez speaking to NUFC TV:
“A special day…a big day for me. I’m really happy here so it’s a good thing for me and I hope the same for the Geordie family.
‘Is the new deal a reward for your hard work?’
“I think that is one of the reasons: the hard work, goals and every week work even harder to get results.
“Newcastle gave me everything, made me a professional footballer etcetera – really happy here, really pleased to sign the new contract.
“From when I first came it felt like home, the support and everything, the town is really nice and easy for everything. So I felt like home and this is a big reason.”
‘The club’s league position isn’t the best but you must be confident the club is going in the right direction?’
“Yes, it is getting better and better, going in the right direction.
“It isn’t going to take too long to start climbing in the league – so be patient and try to get results as soon as possible.”
‘Do new signings help to encourage you?’
“Yes of course, the quality grows so it is a good thing to be part of this squad, it is a really nice squad and that is one of the reasons. I know what we can do and we have to do it now, start climbing and fight for something special.
“Playing in the best league in the world, it makes you grow as a player and you work every day to get better.”