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Opinion

Ayoze Perez debate goes up another couple of notches

5 months ago
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The Ayoze Perez debate is a strange/interesting one.

It usually peaks when the former Tenerife striker has a decent game.

His biggest supporters desperate to explain just how vital he is to Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.

This then provokes the doubters to ask what he is doing the rest of the time.

Meanwhile most of us are sitting in between those two extremes, enjoying the debate to varying degrees.

Last weekend against Everton, Ayoze Perez was poor like the rest of the team for an hour or so, then the last 30 minutes or so Rafa’s players woke up and Perez ended up man of the match. An excellent assist for Rondon’s goal that got United back into the game, then scoring the two goals himself that actually ended up winning the match.

Yesterday I was down at Bournemouth and I thought he was as ineffective in the 72 minutes he was on the pitch, as he was effective in those final 30 minutes against the scousers last weekend.

Perez hardly got a kick and it was no surprise when he was the first to be taken off by Rafa Benitez as the manager chased an equaliser. Atsu actually doing alright when he replaced him.

It all ended well as Newcastle pressed and eventually got that late Ritchie equaliser, with Shelvey and Muto also introduced late on to try and freshen things up.

However, I have still seen further comments on social media after this game, about Ayoze Perez and his worth to the team/club.

I have had a look into his stats to see what they point to, here are the goals and assists from his four Premier League seasons so far (stats via WhoScored):

2014/15 – 7 goals and 0 assists

2015/16 – 6 goals and 2 assists

2017/18 – 8 goals and 5 assists

2018/19 – 6 goals and 2 assists

So in just under four Premier League seasons, Ayoze Perez has managed 27 goals and 9 assists so far.

That averages out at around 7 goals per season and 2 assists.

When you are playing as the second striker, is that enough?

It was great that he managed those two goals and an assist against Everton but in the seven months beforehand, there had only been four goals and one assist.

I know people talk about Ayoze Perez working hard and I agree with that but so do all the players in this Rafa team.

My personal view is that Perez is doing a decent job this season and from the current squad he deserves his place at the minute. However, his is surely a priority position that needs strengthening next season, if Newcastle are going to improve.

He’ll still be a decent player to have as a squad member but we need more of an attacking threat in his position, if Newcastle are to improve what is a pretty dismal goal tally since promotion, NUFC only scoring 70 goals in 69 Premier League matches.

Miguel Almiron showed the level needed with his excellent length of the pitch high speed run to win the free-kick for Rondon’s goal.

The Paraguayan international has made an impressive beginning in these five starts (three wins and a draw), considering he has come in mid-season after no football for a couple of months and stepped up to Premier League level. I think he is going to be a very exciting player next season with this experience and extra settling in time, I think we will see plenty of goals and assists from him in the months/years to come.

Signing up Rondon on a permanent deal and also bringing in an Almiron-type/level of player to replace Perez as first choice are the biggest transfer priorities this summer. Other signings are also needed but to get those two sorted would be a big part of the job done I think.

You should always be looking to improve your team/squad and after five years at the club, Perez’ position is one of those that definitely needs upgrading.

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