Alan Pardew last night claimed Newcastle United had beaten “a number of clubs” to land Ayoze Perez, the club’s first permanent signing in 501 days.
The Spaniard, who cost £1.5m from Spanish side Tenerife, is not quite the big-name Newcastle fans had hoped would arrive this summer.
Given Perez is only 20 years old with no experience of football at the top level – although he does arrive with the reputation of being a wily goalscorer in the lower leagues – it is unlikely Pardew would consider him to be first-team material, at least not in the immediate future.
The Newcastle manager, however, spoke warmly about his first acquisition of what he and every Newcastle supporter hopes will be a busy summer. Pardew said: “We’re delighted to confirm our first signing of the summer and very pleased to have Ayoze at Newcastle United, as a number of other clubs were chasing his signature too.
“He had a terrific season in Spain last year and is a player whom we hope to develop further on Tyneside. He’s only 20 but has a very good eye for goal and that’s a great asset for any young player to have.”
Perez was, not surprisingly, delighted to be given this chance to play for a Premier League side.
He has agreed a five-year deal with Newcastle after being on their radar for the past six months. Perez said: “I’m very happy to be here to start this new adventure. I’m very eager for it to begin.
“I’m very pleased to play for this magnificent club. Any football player would be interested in playing for such a club.”
Jack Colback’s signing is expected to be confirmed in the near future.
An interesting development yesterday was that Tom Ince, whom Pardew likes, saw a move to Inter Milan break down. The winger would be available on a free, as was Colback whose contract at Sunderland is about to end, although Blackpool would be due some compensation because of his age.
Remy Cabella, who the club have made one bid for, was last night, as expected, called into the France World Cup squad.
Injuries to Clement Grenier, another Newcastle target, and Franck Ribery meant the winger being given his chance to shine in Brazil. There is every chance the Montpellier star, rated at £13m by his club, will now play for the French given that Didier Deschamps has lost two of his most creative players.
Newcastle are mulling over a second bid – which would still be lower than the asking price – and it would be advantageous to land the player before the start of the tournament. Some good World Cup performances would quickly see Montpellier put a couple of million pounds more on his head.