By Tom Blackburn
Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez is one of six players on Barcelona’s shortlist to back up their attacking superstars, according to a report.
The Mirror claim the Spanish champions are interested in Perez as a potential back-up for superstar trio Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
It is said Barcelona have five other players in consideration for the role including West Brom’s Salomon Rondon, Atletico Madrid’s Luiano Vietto and AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez revealed at the start of August that former Tenerife ace Perez, 23, had been the subject of two offers, but is adamant that the versatile forward will remain on Tyneside.
“Directly, one coach was calling me, asking for him, with a good price to be fair,” Benitez said, as quoted by the BBC Sport website. “This year we have received two offers (for Perez), we don’t want to sell him.
“He has been working very hard during the summer, he is doing well.”
Perez is currently tied down to Newcastle until 2021 and is said to be happy at St. James’ Park and is eager to play a big role under Benitez this season.
The Spain Under-21 international has already made 76 appearances for Newcastle in the two years since he joined from Tenerife.
Perez scored six goals last season but couldn’t prevent the Magpies from being relegated from the Premier League.
Newcastle have added £10million signing Dwight Gayle to his strike force and they also have Aleksandar Mitrović vying for a first-team forward spot.
In other Newcastle transfer news, they eye a prolific striker from their rivals and the price tag is £8million.