Ayoze Perez arrived at Newcastle United in June as somewhat of an unknown entity. But after an excellent start to life at St James’ Park, the Spaniard has already proved to be one of the bargain buys of the summer.
Perez rocked up on Tyneside from Tenerife in a deal believed to be around £1.5m, and to say the 21-year-old has hit the ground running in the Premier League would be an understatement. Perez has taken to life in England like a duck takes to water, and has already turned himself into Newcastle’s most potent attacking force.
The young Spaniard scored his first ever Premier League goal – the winner in the Magpies’ 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in late October – and hasn’t looked back since. He has gone onto score another four times, three of which have ended in Newcastle wins – over Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and Everton. Perez’s other strike was the only Newcastle goal in a 4-1 away defeat to Arsenal in mid-December.
Perez has been a revelation on Tyneside this term. The Spanish under-21 international gives the Magpies a different dimension up front, with a very apparent low centre of gravity and an eye for goal. The starlet shone once again in Newcastle’s in 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday – he proved to be a constant threat to the Toffees’ defence, and he could have easily had more than just the one goal to show for his efforts.
After the Magpies’ 3-1 defeat to Manchester United on Boxing Day, former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson praised Perez’s performance in the loss. Alan Pardew also lauded his new star, as he told the MailOnline; “I have been fortunate to work with some really good strikers. I think of Carlos Tevez, Teddy Sheringham, Dean Ashton, and he has got faster feet than all three of them. And the work ethic he has put in for the team as well, if he progresses like he is, we don’t know where he’ll end up. He really is surprising us with how good he is and his performance on a big stage, he relished it, like all top players.”
Perez was named player of the year in Spain’s second tier last term, and Pardew was not all that surprised with his instant success; “He won player of the year last season in the league below La Liga (Spanish second division), so it’s not a complete mystery. But we worked hard on his signature and worked hard on his family to just give him the platform and that we would give him an opportunity. We have done that and we have kept our side of the bargain.”
Perez is still very young, very raw and has a lot of developing to do, but it will be very interesting to see just how good a player Ayoze Perez can develop into. The Spaniard has all the tools to become a Premier League great – but it’s up to Newcastle United to nurture him and make him become an even better player. If they can do that, the Magpies may well have found themselves an absolute gem.