By Abigail Withey
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has refused to rule out a move for Arsenal forward Lucas Perez after he was posed the question on Sunday.
Lee Ryder, the Chronicle’s chief sports writer and Newcastle United multimedia journalist, asked the Toon manager whether a move for the 28-year-old could be ruled in or out, and Benitez was cryptic with his response.
The journalist asked the question following the Tyneside club’s last pre-season match before their return to the Premier League, as Benitez’ squad secured a 2-0 victory against Serie A outfit Hellsas Verona at St. James’ Park.
Ryder shared the quote on his official Twitter account.
Asked Rafa after the game on Lucas Perez, can move be ruled out he said: "I know him well and like the player" #nufc
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) August 6, 2017
The Toon boss has been clear with his frustration during the current transfer window, but has managed to make four signings – Jacob Murphy from Norwich, Einar’s Lorian Lejeune, Chelsea’s Christian Atsu and Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid.
Perez could well be the next addition before transfer deadline day after a difficult debut season at the Emirates.
The Spanish striker joined the Gunners from Deportivo de La Coruna last summer for a £17million fee but failed to secure his spot in the Arsenal starting XI.
The 28-year-old made just 11 Premier League appearances last season where he scored once, and he’s further down in Arsene Wenger’s pecking order after the arrivla of Alexandre Lacazette.
Newcastle face a tough opening Premier League match against Tottenham at St. James’ Park next Sunday and will need the strongest team possible to grab three points.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies are plotting a second bid for this top-flight striker.