Newcastle United’s Ayoze Pérez has been linked with a move to Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur were interested in the player in the summer.
While rumours at this point of the season are not unheard of, and usually untrue and unsubstantiated, if anything, this proves that Pérez is on the right direction of his career.
The Spaniard was often the best part about Newcastle’s dismal campaign last season. The youngster from María Jiménez, a town of just over 2,000 inhabitants in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, quickly established himself as a fan favourite at the club as he netted seven goals in his debut season.
After glimpses of immense quality last season, fans hoped Perez would do even better this time around. That didn’t happen initially as Pérez started off tamely under new boss Steve McClaren.
However, he has started showing the same quality in recent weeks which is obviously an encouraging signs for the fans, the player himself and most importantly the club that once again finds itself in a bit of a pickle.
Pérez has scored three goals and grabbed two assists – all of which have come in the last six outings. Remarkably though, despite not picking up form much earlier, only summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum has been involved in more goals (seven) than Pérez.
One reason for him not doing very well initially is that he was deployed out wide by McClaren earlier in the season. He has been seen operating more centrally in his favored position in recent weeks.
The Newcastle manager is hoping Pérez and summer singing Mitrovic form a good partnership up front, one which can help Newcastle finish in a respectable position at the end of the season. Mitrovic plays a more advanced role while Pérez is seen playing slightly deeper, utilizing his brilliant ability on the ball to run at defences.
What is important is that the Spaniard still plays centrally, something he needs to make positive contribution.
A brilliant feature of Pérez’s game is his ability off the ball, an aspect which can differentiate good players from potentially great ones. McClaren recently acknowledged it as well:
He doesn’t get it back in a normal way, he’s a bit of a pest. And he wraps his leg around you and takes the ball.
Newcastle are collectively picking up form as well and on paper, look like they could finish in a mid-table position if their players work to their strengths and the defence becomes less porous. But for that to happen, Pérez will be essential. Simply put, they can’t afford to lose him right now. He is an important and integral player in their squad, someone who is so often the only shining light.
The club must be successful in their attempts to ward off interest from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, no matter what price they’re offered. Spurs may be a captivating fit for the youngster as he could be another player who might benefit under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino, someone who has done so well grooming raw, young players.
At the same time, for the player, it is probably better that he stays with the Tyneside club as he could be a victim of the “too soon” club, something we’ve seen the likes of Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair suffer from.
McClaren has shown faith in the player and Pérez has done well in the last month or so. If he can continue in the same manner in coming weeks, he might not have to switch clubs for greener pastures.
The fact that Newcastle are offering him a new contract will only make staying on more tempting. Unless he has the same agent as a certain new Manchester City player.