Perez: I had offers to quit Newcastle but stayed because of this summer signing
By Russell Edge
Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez revealed that he had several offers to quit the club following relegation but stayed due to Rafa Benitez being named manager.
In an interview with Radio Marca Tenerife, the Spanish forward claimed that Benitez was the best signing for Newcastle last summer, and that his arrival has brought a notable difference to the team.
“Sincerely, it was the best signing of the club in the summer market,” said the 23-year-old.
“Having Rafa as a coach was unexpected and at the same time something great.
“His arrival was perhaps a little late, but with him came a big change to the team since last year.”
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Perez joined Newcastle for a reported £1.5m from Spanish second tier side Tenerife after an impressive 2013-14 season, and was initially a signing for the under-21 side.
However, the then 20-year-old impressed enough to force his way into the first team reckoning, where he has remained ever since.
Perez paid credit to Newcastle as a club, and thanked them for giving him the chance, even if it has meant changing his style of play to suit the league.
“In my opinion Newcastle has made me professional and gave me everything,” added the former Tenerife man to Radio Marca Tenerife.
“The Championship is very different from the Premier League, it’s even more physical and tough and it is difficult but I have adapted.”
The forward also revealed that he was the subject of a number of transfer offers over the summer, with the club having been relegated from the Premier League.
However Perez, who has been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the past, said that despite the disappointment of relegation, he was committed to ensuring Newcastle returned to the top flight.
“It was a tough summer,” said Perez to Radio Marca.
“Despite the interest of other teams, I felt I owed Newcastle a return to the elite and that was the big reason for which I decided to stay.
“I have no intention of changing places – if we go back to the Premier, everyone is happy.”
This season has seen Perez be patient for a turn in the side, due to summer signing Dwight Gayle’s impressive form, and has resulted in just 19 league starts for the 23-year-old.
However, he knows the importance of squad depth, and that every player has their role to play as Newcastle aim for promotion at the first time of asking.
“We need to have a wide squad and have a lot of rotation to give rest,” added Perez. “Luckily we have and it is being reflected in the team’s progress.”
In other Newcastle news, this Toon striker says he is ready to take his chance in the first team.