What have the experts said about new Leicester signing Ayoze Perez?

Leicester City’s summer has all of a sudden burst into life.

Last week they confirmed the addition of Ayoze Perez who arrived for a fee of £30m, a total which broke their transfer record after previously bringing Islam Slimani to the club for £1m less.

Yet, just a matter of days later, Youri Tielemans’ permanent switch to the Foxes was confirmed, smashing Perez’s record by £10m.

The club well and truly have lift off and after being subjected to a summer where Harry Maguire has been the main centre of attention, attracting a bid from Manchester United, the focus is now being directed elsewhere.

The signing of Perez, though, could be canny business. This is a player who ended last season by netting six goals in his final five outings for Newcastle but what have the experts said about him?

Luis Garcia, former Spanish international:

“He definitely deserves a try [in the Spain team] because he’s been amazing, it’s not easy in a team which is being rebuilt, hasn’t had much help for Rafael Benitez but every time he is on the pitch he delivers something special.

“He’s a very technical player, knows how to move to score goals and it is something that maybe Rafa was asking a little bit more [from him].”

Considering some of the great Spanish strikers that have gone before him, earning a call-up to the national side – as his compatriot Garcia alluded to on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday (24/02/19, 12:26), via The Chronicle – would be quite something.

Interestingly, it’s something he’s reiterated he has a vision of achieving in the past.

Previously in 2017, he told Sky Sports, via The Chronicle that it was a dream to play for the national side, before revealing to Marca this year that he hoped the same ambition would come true.

In terms of the goals Garcia spoke about, his 2018/19 campaign was one of his best yet, finding the net 12 times as he ended the campaign as Newcastle’s top scorer.

Per Sky Sports, 62% of his shots were on target, which is hugely impressive and it’s that statistic that bodes particularly well for the Foxes going into next term.

He finished last season with an average of 1.5 shots per game, a tally that would have put him fifth in the shots per game leaderboard at Leicester.

Noel Whelan, commentator and ex-footballer:

“He’s always been a good player, we saw that there’s a spark in him, he’s got a change of pace, he’s good on the ball very intelligent player and when you’ve got those three things obviously clubs will be interested, especially at a club that have sort of struggled.”

Fascinatingly, Whelan tipped Perez for a move away from Newcastle when speaking to Football Insider earlier this year. He waxed lyrical about the Spaniard, hailing the new Leicester signing for what he can offer.

It’s clear Perez is an intelligent player by his all-round contribution to the side. Not only does he add goals but he’s also creative as well, boasting the ability to play in a variety of positions.

At Leicester there is a strong possibility that he could be preferred either on the right or behind Jamie Vardy, who will presumably continue to start in attack after thriving under Rodgers at the culmination of the 2018/19 season, scoring ten goals in the final 11 games of the Premier League season.

To provide evidence of just how intelligent he is, he created the same number of opportunities, 1.2 per game, as Tielemans managed in a Leicester shirt last term.

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Anton Toloui, Sky Sports reporter:

“He adds options to that frontline, they’ve got very direct options and Jamie Vardy probably needs some support behind him and they need a back up for James Maddison if he can’t play. He brings versatility and he brings pressing. He brings a certain defensive discipline to a team that Brendan Rodgers will absolutely love as well.”

Speaking to Sky Sports’ Good Morning Transfers as Leicester were in the middle of pursuing Perez, Toloui spoke about what exactly the 25-year-old can offer at Leicester.

After last season the Foxes desperately needed to add to their attacking options. Besides Vardy, who scored 18 and James Maddison, who netted seven, they lacked a coherent and consistent goal threat.

However, Perez will give them a refreshing option which, on paper, is far better than the four-goal Demarai Gray, someone he could rival on the right-hand side.

His ability to press, though, could be game-changing for Rodgers’ side.

Last season he managed particularly striking defensive statistics, making 1.6 tackles per game whilst managing a further 1.1 interceptions.

Verdict

It remains to be seen just how much of an impact Perez will have on the Leicester side but for £30m it’s likely the pressure will be on him to succeed.

The Foxes have already seen big money signings in Slimani and Kelechi Iheanacho fail, with the pair of them scoring just 13 and 10 goals respectively after their arrivals.

But despite that, the glowing reviews above are a demonstration of the quality he does indeed have.

From the expert opinions it’s clear he’s got more than one dimension to him, and that in itself should be conducive to a successful spell in the Midlands.

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