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Newcastle United’s Ayoze Perez is developing into a fine player under Rafa Benitez

The 24-year-old has two goals in his last two outings.

Jake Jackman

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Ayoze Perez
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United have been in excellent form since the turn of the year and they have managed to move away from the relegation zone in recent weeks with three successive wins.

Rafa Benitez has been able to rely on a core group of players and one of the individuals to benefit most from the coaching of the Spaniard has been Ayoze Perez.

The 24-year-old has played over 100 times for the club since joining in 2014 and has been seen as a player with promise throughout his time at St James’ Park.

However, at times, supporters have been frustrated with him and his lack of influence in matches.

Perez has been played predominantly as a number ten and although he does have some qualities that suit the role, he isn’t a natural.

Benitez has kept the faith in his compatriot while continuing to develop the player on the training pitch and the effect has been noticeable in recent weeks.

Perez hasn’t scored as many goals as he would have liked this season, but he has come up with two crucial strikes in the last two weeks.

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

As a result, Newcastle have climbed to 10th in the table and Benitez will see that as vindication for his decision to stick with the 24-year-old.

Last weekend, he finished coolly after having a chance laid on by Kenedy with an excellent piece of awareness.

He then followed that up an audacious chip to clinch the three points against Leicester City.

Perez may not be a clinical finisher, but this finish underlined the technical skill that he does possess and why Newcastle are keen to keep him in their first team.

The finish was superb, but the awareness and composure were also impressive.

It came at a crucial time as it gave the team breathing space and meant that the late goal that they conceded didn’t cost them any points.

A large section of the support has been critical of Perez’s contributions in the final third, as he has missed good chances and given the ball away cheaply throughout the campaign.

However, he now has four goals and four assists.

His previous best season in the Premier League came during the 2015/16 season when he scored six and laid on two.

It is shaping up to be his best season in the Premier League and that will give him a foundation from which to push on from in years to come.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

One of his best attributes is his work rate and tenacity when his team is out of possession.

Perez runs relentlessly for his side and is an unselfish player, which is why he suits Benitez’s style of play.

This season, he has averaged 1.63 ball recoveries per ninety minutes and his pressing has been central to the tactics used by the manager.

It is worth noting that nine of Newcastle’s ten wins have come when Perez has been a part of the starting eleven and he has scored the winning goal in three of those matches.

He may score every week, but the goals that he does score are important ones.

At the age of 24, there is more to come from the Spaniard and he could develop into a very good player under the guidance of Benitez.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur round-up: Striker offload, Martial U-turn and Vertonghen wanted

All the latest news and gossip from Tottenham Hotspur.

Mathew Nash

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Striker offload

Tottenham Hotspur are stepping up their attempts to remove Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente from the club.

The London Evening Standard is reporting that Tottenham are hoping to raise as much as £30 million in fees by selling the two striker flops.

Spurs signed Dutch international Vincent Janssen in the summer of 2016 but he failed to have an impact and spent last season on loan at Fenerbahce. Llorente arrived as his replacement from Swansea but also struggled.

(<> at Levi’s Stadium on July 22, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.

Martial u-turn

Tottenham target Anthony Martial will now be allowed to leave Manchester United, according to reports.

The Guardian claim that United manager Jose Mourinho has performed a U-turn and wants the unhappy Frenchman sold this summer.

Tottenham have previously been keen but United want £80 million and would rather sell to foreign parties Bayern Munich or PSG.

Vertonghen wanted

PSG are keen on Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen. As reported by Les Parisien the French champions are looking to bring in a new central defender this summer who can also play in other roles.

The Belgian is the perfect option but Tottenham would seem very unlikely to sell. Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is also on their list.

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Everton

Everton round-up: Richarlison medical, Digne price-tag, Klaassen bid

All the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Richarlison medical

Richarlison has completed his medical at Everton and is set to join on a £50 million deal from Watford in the next 24 hours.

Marco Silva worked with the Brazilian last season and was keen to reunite with him this summer.

An initial fee of £35 million is set to be paid for the player but clauses will take the overall price-tag nearer to £50 million.

That will make it a club record, ahead of last summer’s £45 million signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

(Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

Digne price

There have been conflicting reports today in Spain regarding recent reports in England over Lucas Digne. The Mirror recently claimed Everton had agreed a £22 million fee for the French international.

However, that does not appear to be the case.

According to Sport, Everton have offered Barcelona just €10 million (£8.9m) for the player, with Barcelona wanting €16 million (£14.3m).

Everton currently have a delegation in Spain trying to thrash out a deal for the left-back.

Klaassen wanted

German side Werder Bremen want Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen. Kreiszeitung are reporting that the Bundesliga side are hopeful of signing the former Ajax captain in a £11.6 million deal this summer.

That would be a huge £12 million reduction on the £23.6 million Everton paid Ajax for the player last summer.

Klaassen failed to find his form at Everton and is expected to depart this summer.

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Manchester United

Jose Mourinho interest should spring Tottenham into Harry Maguire action, using Toby Alderweireld

Tottenham would be better off losing the Belgian now and bringing in England’s World Cup star.

Mathew Nash

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Manchester United are the latest team being linked with a move for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire. According to The Telegraph, Jose Mourinho is a big fan of the England World Cup hero and is readying a move.

Any deal would cost in excess of £50 million. The Mirror suggest he will cost £65 million and see the futures of Marcos Rojo. Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones jeopardised.

Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with Maguire this summer and this development should jolt them into action.

Spurs could have the upper hand in this race, as they have a player Mourinho may want even more than Maguire.

(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

United are known to be very keen on Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld. The 29-year-old’s contract stand-off with Spurs has seen him linked with an exit this summer. Tottenham are standing firm on any asking price. The latest reports suggested that fee was £75 million.

But, in the long run, allowing Alderweireld to go for cheaper could be a stroke of genius from Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

Alderweireld is a far more ‘Mourinho’ player and the Manchester United boss would surely prefer him to Maguire. If Levy and Spurs allow the Belgian to go at a cheaper price it would leave the path clear to lodge their own bid for Maguire.

Tottenham would be ridding themselves of a contract rebel who, despite his brilliance, is nearly five years older than the England hero. In return, they would get Maguire, who would suit their style of play perfectly – especially if Mauricio Pochettino decides on playing a back-three.

A little convoluted? Perhaps. However, this could end up being the best case scenario for Tottenham.

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