With thoughts starting to turn to January plans, Newcastle United’s most recent victory at AFC Bournemouth provided a timely reminder of the talents already within their squad.
While the Cherries hammered the visitors’ goalkeeper but failed to register, United attacked swiftly in the 27th minute through Aleksandar Mitrovic, Gini Wijnaldum and finally Ayoze Perez, who fired the game’s only goal. Recruitment is required in the transfer window, but unless these gems are kept then any progress will be minimal.
Though Mitrovic and Wijnaldum are unlikely to depart St James’ Park in the near future, having signed in the summer, Spanish superstar Perez is quickly grabbing the attention of the Premier League’s high-flyers.
His touch of class was enough to defeat Bournemouth and the 22-year-old has been tipped for a full international call-up in the near future; his signature is one Newcastle did well to obtain in 2014 and will do even better to secure this winter.
Perez boasts incredible ball control, a deft finish, and balance and strength that look beyond his slight build. Last year, he was the shining light in a particularly gloomy season on Tyneside, and his development has continued on an upwards curve in this campaign.
Tottenham Hotspur were previously linked, but Manchester United now pose the biggest threat – the Canarian drew praise from Old Trafford great Sir Alex Ferguson just months into his career in England.
Some may consider the Red Devils a leap too far, but this is a talent that caught the eye of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid before he’d made a single top-tier appearance. The 20-time champions have relied almost solely on Anthony Martial for a creative spark, and Perez could easily share the burden.
While the forward might be a good fit in Manchester, it is down to Steve McClaren and the Newcastle board to ensure Perez remains a Magpie beyond the end of January. The obvious solution would be to offer improved terms to a youngster who still earns the relatively modest wage he settled on when he first arrived on these shores.
Fortunately, Perez seems happy with his lot at this moment in time. He’s playing regularly in one of the top leagues in the world, and international recognition would be a tangible and worthy reward for his hard work.
Even should these rumours persist, it is unlikely that the 10-goal front man would shift for a move in the same way as the foolish Yohan Cabaye or current misfit Moussa Sissoko.
Perez’s head is in the right place, and that can only be good news for the player, for Newcastle, and for Spain.