AYOZE Perez became Newcastle United’s first permanent signing in 18 months yesterday and Alan Pardew is expected to follow up his acquisition with a second signing early next week.
Ayoze – as he is known – put pen to paper on a long-term contract after the Magpies agreed a deal reportedly worth £1.5m to sign the striker from Spanish Segunda Division outfit Tenerife.
The 20-year-old’s arrival ends supporters’ long wait for a money purchase and The Northern Echo understands the Magpies could announce their second signing – most probably Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback – early next week.
The breakthrough comes after Magpies boss Alan Pardew revealed his desire to get some of his summer business done before the start of the World Cup. Talks are on-going between club officials and Montpellier over the potential transfer of Remy Cabella, but Newcastle’s hopes of landing one of their top targets could be hit by interest from Marseille and his late inclusion in France’s World Cup squad.
Cabella was drafted into Didier Deschamps’ final group alongside Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin yesterday in place of injured duo Franck Ribery and Clement Grenier with Newcastle and Montpellier still haggling over a fee.
Reports have even suggested that the Ligue 1 side are ready to walk away from a deal if the Magpies refuse to up their initial offers and a World Cup appearance could attract interest from other clubs strengthening Montpellier’s position.
Nevertheless, Pardew revealed his delight at securing 20-year-old Ayoze, who had also attracted interest from Benfica, Arsenal and Real Madrid.
“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 who 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.”
The striker enjoyed a prolific season for the Chicharreros, scoring 16 goals in 34 appearances and despite interest from other clubs, Ayoze revealed why he chose Newcastle.
“I'm very happy to be here to start this new adventure. I'm very eager for it to begin and I'm very pleased to play for this magnificent Club.
“Any football player would be interested in playing for such a Club and I will earn my position to get in the first team.
“There’s been many clubs interested in me, but this one was the most serious one, and the one that has treated me the best and valued me the most.
“The negotiation has been very good and that helps when you want to choose which club to go to.
“All those clubs are important but I have to look after my interests and I think at Newcastle I can do great things, can grow there and help the club grow.
“Any football player would be interested in playing for such a club and playing in the Premier league for Newcastle.”