Newcastle United were relegated last season to the surprise of many, as they did have a lot of talent in the squad. Moussa Sissoko, Gini Wijnaldum and Daryl Janmaat will all expect transfers to one of the top leagues in Europe, while there are a few others that might catch the eye of Premier League clubs. Ayoze Perez had a solid two seasons at Newcastle, transitioning well from the Spanish second tier, and will have plenty of admirers in the top flight. He has been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, Everton Manchester City and Arsenal, some of the biggest clubs in England.
It may be a surprise to many that Perez is being linked with some of those clubs, but regular watchers of Newcastle will know that he has a lot of potential. At the age of 22, Perez has done well to establish himself in England, considering the physicality and the fact that he has been playing in a side battling relegation. Across his two seasons at Newcastle, he scored 13 goals, an encouraging start to his time in England. He became a key player for a side at the wrong end of the table, and it would have been easy for the young Spaniard to hide, but he embraced the responsibility. Perez made some crucial contributions and can be one of the few players in the Newcastle squad to hold their head high.
The interest from Tottenham is likely to be the most concrete, as they have been admirers of Perez for the last 18 months. Mauricio Pochettino believes he would fit perfectly into his system and provide cover for a number of positions. He isn’t ready to be a starter for a club like Spurs, but his versatility makes him an excellent squad option. He can offer cover for both wide positions and for Harry Kane.
It is for the same reasons that Pep Guardiola may take a risk on him for Manchester City. They have an ageing squad, with few players that would suit Guardiola’s style of play. Perez could provide a good squad option, and he technically gifted enough to do well in his fellow countryman’s style. Also at the age of 22, Guardiola may view Perez as a project in a similar way to how he looked at Joshua Kimmich, who developed into a regular for club and country under his tutelage. Manchester City supporters will be expecting their new manager to bring in big name players, but he also finds value in the market with players that need a bit of coaching to bring them to the top level. Perez is a player that might intrigue the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.
In terms of what he offers, Perez is a versatile attacker, who likes to drop deep and try and use his skill to beat players. He often beats defenders with his quick burst of acceleration, while he can also turn quickly, allowing him to create space. His tireless running and defensive work is something that he added to his game at St James’ Park and will be a strength if he moves to a bigger club. His inconsistency in the final third, and poor decision making is an area of his game that must improve. Perez is a rough diamond, who could develop into a fine player under the right coach.
Although there will be a lot of interest in the attacker, Perez is in no hurry to get a transfer away from Newcastle, despite relegation. He has pledged his allegiance to the club and spoken of his hopes for next season in the Championship. However, there is a belief that Rafael Benitez will be tempted to cash in on his compatriot as he doesn’t think he is suited to Championship football. The rumoured fee for Perez is £10m, which could be a bargain in the modern market and someone may opt to take a punt on the Spaniard. He will want guarantees that he will get a good amount of first team football and make sure that the coaching set up will aid his development. I think Tottenham and Manchester City are both good fits, but he will only be a squad option at both.