Ayoze Perez says he is open to offers this summer — and the timing of a big-money bid could not be more pertinent amid the discord between Rafa Benitez and Newcastle’s hierarchy.
The forward, you see, is exactly the type of player who owner Mike Ashley wants his manager to buy: young and with sell-on value. Newcastle paid Tenerife just £1.5million for Perez five years ago and now, aged 25, he would command a fee in the region of £25m. That is what Ashley likes.
Benitez, though, wants to spend money as he sees fit, such as the £15m it would take to sign West Bromwich loanee Salomon Rondon, who is 30 this year.
Ayoze Perez’s first hat-trick for Newcastle was enough to defeat Southampton on Saturday
Newcastle’s No 17 Perez put the home side ahead with a low angled shot on 27 minutes
Perez put his fingers to his ears as he celebrated scoring the opening goal in front of his fans
If the boss is to remain, then a compromise has to be reached. He also wants a commitment to more ambitious wages in excess of £100,000 a week.
But just as important as recruitment is retention, and keeping Perez at St James’ Park is vital, for the Spaniard is in the form of his life after this fine hat-trick against Southampton.
He knows that, too, and he is doing nothing to deter would-be suitors.
‘In the summer there are going to be options,’ he said. ‘That means I have done something well.
‘I can hear what they offer for me… but it doesn’t mean I am going to leave 100 per cent. It is going to be difficult. It depends on a lot of things. It has been five great years and I cannot thank Newcastle enough.’
That sounds like a parting gesture, and it would be a shame were he to spend his best years elsewhere after half a decade of development on Tyneside.
They played the Latin hit La Bamba inside St James’ at full-time as Benitez and Perez soaked up the adulation.
It will certainly be music to the ears of the Toon Army should the pair still be topping the Gallowgate hit parade next season.
Newcastle went 2-0 up after the half-hour when Perez slid in to finish ahead of Ryan Bertrand
Perez’s hat-trick was rounded off with a sharp header from close range at St James’ Park