The last 24 hours have seen media claims of £15m interest in one of Newcastle United’s players.
The player in question is Ayoze Perez and West Ham, Inter Milan and Everton are all claimed to have registered their interest in the midfielder/striker.
The clubs in question are reported to be prepared to meet Newcastle United’s supposed valuation of £15m to enable a move this summer.
Rafa Benitez is said to like Ayoze Perez but could be prepared to deal at that price to enable him to spend money on strengthening elsewhere in the squad.
Perez turns 23 in July and has clearly been one of Newcastle’s better signings in recent years, both in value for money (only cost around £1.5m) and actually producing something, compared to the likes of Cabella and Thauvin anyway,
The Spaniard is popular with many supporters but even they struggle to agree where he should actually play.
He’s not an out and out striker, he’s not a winger and he doesn’t do enough going backwards to be considered a midfielder.
The consensus would appear to be that ideally Perez should play behind the main striker, that dream position where all players would love to play, not expected to do loads in tracking back but on the other hand not having the expectation of being the main contributor of goals.
I think the player has got talent but is a bit of a luxury who doesn’t really contribute enough, something that certainly Rafa Benitez appeared to recognise when after starting his first two games in charge, Ayoze Perez only found himself in the starting 11 twice in the final eight games.
Perez isn’t quick and playing both him and the totally immobile Aleksandar Mitrovic leaves Newcastle woefully short of pace and movement up front.
Press stories during last season of interest from Manchester United and Tottenham were surely far-fetched, despite the player himself being happy to help stoke up those claims. If Spurs were in any way interested, they had the perfect opportunity in January when they could have insisted in Ayoze Perez being part of the deal that brought Andros Townsend to St James Park.
I feel the reality is that just like Mitrovic and Shelvey who also found themselves sidelined in the relegation run-in, Rafa Benitez would clearly not be averse to sell them now he is guaranteed to be able to spend any cash generated.
All three of them have some ability but also big flaws in either their skill set and/or character, there are better players out there and as for Perez’ valuation, surely anything around £7m or £8m (or higher) would see Newcastle/Rafa snap their hands off.