Nothing has been made official just yet but The Magpies have been heavily linked with the 20-year-old Tenerife striker in recent days and Pérez is widely expected to put pen to paper and complete a €2 million move once Tenerife’s league campaign has finished; despite languishing in tenth place in the Segunda División, Álvaro Cervera’s men are currently just three points off the play-off positions with three games left to play.
Ayoze’s impressive form this season – he has netted 16 goals in 33 games so far - has caught the eye of Everton, Swansea and Porto, amongst others, but Newcastle look poised to win the race for the youngster as their new Managing Director, Lee Charnley, aims to make the club’s first permanent signing in 18 months having recently been appointed to replace the hapless Joe Kinnear.
Luque, however, believes that the step up to the Premier League may prove too much for the inexperienced striker and that he may struggle to adapt to life in England – as was the case with Luque himself almost ten years ago. Newcastle paid £9.5 million to bring the Spaniard to St James’ Park from Deportiva La Coruña in August 2005 as Graeme Souness looked to bolster his attacking options and find a creative foil for new record signing Michael Owen.
His time in England was nothing short of disastrous and was marred by injuries and a drastic loss of form and he made only 21 appearances for the club and netted just once – in a 4-1 win over local rivals Sunderland in what proved to be Alan Shearer’s last game for the club.
The 17-times capped former Spain international spoke to Teide Radio this week and commented: “the two years I spent there were the two worst on a personal level…Newcastle is a great club but if I could go back, it is an experience that I would not repeat…the step that Ayoze has taken shows tremendous courage on his part but it’s going to be a challenging move”.
He added: “the contract that he has got will have delighted him but it is a difficult place to go. All three of the Spanish players who have gone there were warned that it was a difficult move and none of the Spaniards were a success…it will not be easy and he will have to do it himself. He will be alone there without any help. It will be tough for him and maybe Porto would have been a better option for him”.
Luque makes a couple of good points and it’s true that Ayoze will face an up-hill struggle to make the grade at St James’ Park as the style and pace of top flight football in England is vastly different to the second tier in Spain. Whether he will be alone and without any support structure remains to be seen. There are questions marks over the futures of both Jonas Gutierrez and club captain Fabricio Coloccini but having a Spanish speaker alongside him in the dressing room would certainly be a big bonus and would help him enormously.
Finally, Luque said that none of the Spaniards who have played for Newcastle have been a success, himself included. It goes without saying that both Marcelino and Xisco proved to be absolutely terrible signings for the club. However, while José Enrique may have left under a cloud when he forced through his move to Liverpool a few summers ago, the left back was a fantastic acquisition and was a solid and steady performer during his time with the club.
As Luque said, it won’t be easy but it’s not impossible. Here’s hoping that Ayoze can prove his worth and make the step up if he does arrive on Tyneside this summer.