By Will Butcher
Newcastle could be set to lose Ayoze Perez in the summer as Marseille continue to watch the Spanish playmaker, according to a report.
French outlet Espoirs du Football claimed on their official Twitter account that 23-year-old Perez had been watched multiple times by the French giants this season.
Petite info : L'OM s'est déplacé plusieurs fois en Angleterre pour observer le milieu offensif espagnol Ayoze Perez (1993, Newcastle).
— EspoirsduFootball (@EspoirsduFoot) April 2, 2017
Marseille have turned to the Premier League for attacking talent this season, after signing Dimitri Payet from West Ham in January.
France international Payet joins Bafetembi Gomis and Florian Thauvin in plying his trade for Marseille after moving from England, with the latter currently on loan from the Toon.
Perez could be made an expendable member of Rafa Benitez’s squad in the summer, as he struggles to hold down regular game time on the north east.
Benitez’s vigorous rotation policy has seen Perez continually swap with Mo Diame in the number 10 role, as the former Liverpool boss looks to keep his players fresh.
The former Tenerife forward was only used as a substitute in Saturday’s narrow 2-1 win over Wigan, and could now be tempted to jump ship in order to receive regular game time.
The Magpies’ number 17 has now scored nine goals in 34 games against the likes of Ipswich, Brighton and Norwich, as well as providing six assists.
Football Insider verdict:
Perez should count himself as hugely unlucky not to be given more regular game time at St. James’ Park this season. Someone of the Spaniard’s calibre, who is a proven Premier League goalscorer, would get into most top flight sides. The Toon should look to keep the versatile attacker on Tyneside, as he still has plenty to offer and is years away from reaching his peak. The Toon need players who know how to find the back of the net in England’s top flight, and Perez knows just how to do that after scoring 13 PL goals during his time with the Toon. He could prove key to Benitez’s fight against relegation, and must be kept unless a huge offer is received.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Toon are facing a fight to keep Arsenal away from thsi young star.