By Coral Barry
Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez is a surprise target for La Liga champions Barcelona, according to a report.
Perez managed just six goals last season as Newcastle were relegated, but played 37 games for the Magpies and is considered a future star.
The Daily Mail claim that Barcelona see the 23-year-old in a similar light and want a striker to act as back-up to Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
The attacking trio scored 150 goals between them last season and Barcelona have so far been frustrated in their pursuit of a decent deputy.
It is thought no top striker is keen on a move to the Nou Camp as they would almost certainly play second fiddle to the world’s most lethal front three.
Perez is currently tied down to Newcastle until 2021 and is said to be happy at St James’ Park and eager to play a big role under Rafael Benitez next season.
The Spaniard has already made 76 appearances for Newcastle in the two years since he joined from Tenerife.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies have turned down the chance to let their youngsters shine in this cup competition.