Ayoze Perez is a man in form.
Goals in each of the last three matches has really put him in the spotlight, Sunday’s cracking goal against Arsenal topping things off nicely.
In fact, the Sky Sports Power Rankings, which evaluate all Premier League players over the last five rounds of matches, had only one player ahead of Ayoze Perez when the rankings were updated this week. Newcastle actually having seven players in total, in the top 50.
The form of Perez hasn’t gone without being noticed back in Spain and after the win over Arsenal, the Newcastle star has been interviewed by Spanish newspaper AS.
A lot of the interview was about his thought on the Atletico Madrid v Arsenal Europa League semis but much of it was obviously also about him and Newcastle United.
Asked how much he believed he was worth in the transfer market now, Ayoze Perez said that with the current ‘crazy’ transfer inflation, probably around 12m euros (approx £10.4m) to 15m euros (approx £13m).
As for where he thinks he will be next season, Perez says a return to play in Spain ‘always tempts a little’, but ‘the Premier League has me in love.’
The former Tenerife player also says he is ‘very happy’ at St James Park and: ‘I am very comfortable in Newcastle. It is the club that has given me the opportunity to play 100 games in the Premier League. I am happy and in the long term I do not know what will happen.’
As for playing for Spain, Ayoze Perez says that it remains a dream that he catches national manager Julen Lopetegui’s eye: ‘Hopefully one day Lopetegui can call that canary who plays in the north of England.’
Ayoze Perez speaking to AS:
Newcastle seemed a candidate for relegation but after winning against Arsenal on Sunday with a goal from you and now 41 points, that ensures staying up. How was the season?
It was thought that we would suffer until the end but we are already in a comfortable situation. We did not think that we were going to reach this stage already saved and it means that we have done things well.
It was 2-1 and you and Kenedy scored, was it as easy as it seemed?
No, of course not. Arsenal demand a lot from you. It is a team that has a lot of possession and it is very difficult to take the ball from them. But we knew that with our weapons we could harm them. At times we feel comfortable playing and waiting a bit for the opposition to fail. We have fast and skilled players and when we counter-attacked we knew we could make a difference. We could even have scored another goal.
It was such a tactical success that several Arsenal fans want Benitez to replace Wenger for next season. How would I see it?
It is normal. We all know Rafa. You see the teams he have trained and I would not be surprised at all (that others would want him). Arsenal is a big club in England and Rafa is a great coach. He has already been in benches of that calibre many times. But for me he should stay in Newcastle. We are very happy with him because the team has improved a lot since his arrival.
You have scored 3 goals in the last 3 games to help Newcastle add nine decisive points in the fight for permanence. If you follow this form, (Manager of Spain) Lopetegui calls you for the World …
That is a dream that I still have. Hopefully one day Lopetegui can call that canary who plays in the north of England. It would be nice to fulfill the dream of wearing the shirt of the national team. As a striker I have no choice but to score goals to get his attention. I have to try to make the best possible numbers. I am in a good moment and I have to try to continue like this until the end.
You arrived at Newcastle for only 2 million euros and since then have scored 27 goals and got 16 assists in 101 games between Premier and Championship. How much would Ayoze be worth in today’s market?
I do not know. I would like to think about 12 or 15 million. The market is going crazy. The prices skyrocket. We are seeing spectacular things, but that would be the case. It would be a big difference in a matter of four years what something cost and what it could cost now. But I do not think much about that. I want to finish the season as well as possible and I am very happy at Newcastle.
Do you see yourself at Newcastle in the long term?
I am very comfortable in Newcastle. It is the club that has given me the opportunity to play 100 games in the Premier League. I am happy and in the long term I do not know what will happen. Let what must come and be good come.
You have become one of the stars of the Newcastle team almost from your first day but other compatriots like Iago Aspas, Lucas Pérez or the canary Sandro were not so lucky. Why do you think that Spaniards sometimes find it so difficult to adapt to England?
It is a very difficult league. There are quality players who stumble and others who do not have such quality and succeed for years. It’s a complicated league. There are some who do not have the luck to pay here. The league is very demanding. It squeezes you and I’m not surprised that other players have difficulty adapting.
Before arriving at Newcastle, you had offers to go to Madrid and Barça. Why did you choose to come to the Premier?
They were offers to go to the subsidiaries (reserve set-ups). They are among the most powerful clubs in the world. I remember that I had a conversation with my family and my representative but my dream was the Premier League. Since I was little I used to watch it on TV and I wanted to play there. In that sense, the decision was clear. Coming to the Premier was what I wanted. A historic club like Newcastle gave me the opportunity and even today, obviously the decision has been totally successful. I have grown a lot here and I have fulfilled a dream.
And now at 24 years old. Are not you tempted to come back?
That always tempts a little. After all, it is your country and I never had the opportunity to play in the first division of Spain. You turn around but the Premier League has me in love. I’m very happy here. More and more players want to come to England. Obviously going back to Spain is something that I have pending but I do not even know when it will be.