Ayoze Perez has been talking to the media back home in Tenerife after Newcastle’s successful season.
The striker says that he is ‘very happy at Newcastle’ and has no plans of moving on, whether back to Spain, or elsewhere.
Ayoze Perez turns 24 in July and this has to be a season where he really cracks if he wants to prove he is a better player than we have seen so far.
This past season has been much like his previous two: signs of promise, the odd moment of magic, but not really enough of either.
This has been his league record at Newcastle United so far:
2014/15: 25 starts (11 off bench) 7 goals + 0 assists
2015/16: 22 starts (12 off bench) 6 goals + 2 assists
2016/17: 25 starts (11 off bench) 9 goals + 6 assists
Very similar statistics actually.
Perez getting 25 starts which is very similar to the 25 and 22 in his first two seasons, whilst 11 appearances off the bench matching up with 11 and 12 previously.
In terms of goals, once again very similar, 9 this time and 7 and 6 previously.
Only in terms of assists has there been a significant progression: zero then two then six this past season.
At that lower level you would have expected him to dominate the division, much as he did on that final day against Barnsley.
However, that has never really happened, with many more anonymous performances than dominant ones.
The very fact that Ayoze Perez has had a lower proportion of starts (25 of 46, compared to 47 of 76 in the Premier League), tells you that Rafa Benitez wasn’t totally convinced either.
For Perez to be a sure thing for next season, he had to be an automatic starter just like players such as Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie.
In this latest interview he says there was interest from La Liga side Las Palmas.
However, these Spanish minnows (currently 14th in La Liga with average crowds of 20,328) are a world away from the daft previous media claims of interest from Barcelona, Spurs and Manchester United.
Whether that turned his head a bit is hard to say but I don’t think he has really kicked on from that first encouraging season in the Premier League at Newcastle.
If Rafa Benitez decides to stick with him, then Ayoze Perez must lift his game come August, here’s hoping.
Ayoze Perez speaking to Radio MARCA Tenerife:
“I am very happy at Newcastle and I still have (four) years left on my latest contract that I signed.
“At the moment I don’t think about returning to Spain.
“Being honest, there was a little bit of interest from Las Palmas last summer but it did not get very far.
“Las Palmas are doing things very well and they are growing a lot – but I’m happy at Newcastle.
“I feel privileged to be a professional footballer and I’m still at the start (of my career), I have many dreams still left to fulfil – I hope one day to play for Spain.
(Asked which other English club would suit his style of play)
“Outside of Newcastle, the team that would strike me the most would be Arsenal.”
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