Ayoze Perez has been a bit of a revelation this year as he has hit the goal trail and scored 7 goals for Newcastle in the previous 7 games.
Perez has a habit of coming good towards the end of the season, and he did the same last year as he finished top of the goalscoring charts with 8 Premier League goals.
So far this season he has 9 goals with 8 of them being in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old former Tenerife forward scored his first-ever Premier League hat-trick against Southampton last weekend, and we do expect other clubs to come in for him this summer.
Of course, if Rafa leaves it’s almost certain that Perez will seek pastures new – and we wouldn’t blame him for doing that, under those circumstances.
Perez will need to make some critical decisions on his future in the summer since he is in top form at the moment.
Rafa Benitez congratulates Ayoze Perez on his first Newcastle hat-trick last Saturday
Maybe if Rafa stays, he will keep Ayoze at the club by giving him a new and improved contract.
Perez has looked a different player with Miguel Almiron and Salomon Rondon up front since early February.
This is what Rafa said when asked whether he was concerned about Perez as reported in the Chronicle today:
“I think at the end of the season you will see a lot of clubs linked with selling four or five players and wanting to buy four or five.”
“What will happen with him? I do not see any problem now. Finish the season, see what happens and, if someone comes for this player, or that, it is very normal when players are doing well.”
“If someone comes, then we will deal with that.
“But yeah (I want him to stay is I am still at Newcastle), because he is an important player for us.”
“At the same time, the prices of players are so crazy it is not easy to say, ‘I will go and get this player’, or, ‘that player’. It is the same for us.
“If someone comes, see where we are, but I think Ayo could be fine – if we do the right things, and he is happy because we can do the right things.”
“Yeah, I am the first one to criticize Ayoze. Why? Because he has to be more consistent and he has the potential,”
“You cannot criticize a player who cannot give you more. But Ayo is one that we know he can do well, he can do better, and he has room for improvement.”
“When I am telling him to change this, or that, he knows. Maybe sometimes he is not happy, but always you remember the teacher who pushes you harder, not the one who was always nice.”
“You have to push them and find the balance. He is OK because he is getting better.”
Ayoze could stay at Newcastle if two things happen – Rafa stays on Tyneside and Perez has looked so good since February he could also be given a new enhanced contract on Tyneside.
That should do it.
His current contract still has two years to run.
Back to today – and we need to beat Brighton at the Amex Stadium on the south coast, and maybe Perez can get a goal or two for us this afternoon?
A win will take us to 44 points and equal last season’s points total with two games still to play.