VALENCIA are ready to launch an early summer move for Ayoze Perez – and are hoping the ongoing uncertainty at Newcastle United will make it easier for them to prise the forward from St James’ Park.

Perez dropped a number of hints in the second half of last season suggesting he was interested in returning to Spain this summer, and Valencia have become the first club to sound out his representatives about a possible move.

The La Liga side are preparing for a campaign in the Champions League after finishing fourth in the Spanish top-flight last season, and their Singaporean owner, Peter Lim, has pledged to support head coach Marcelino in the transfer market this summer.

Attacking reinforcements are a priority, and while Celta Vigo’s Maximiliano Gomez has been identified as a potential option, Perez would be a cheaper alternative.

The 25-year-old cost Newcastle just £1.5m when he signed from Tenerife in the summer of 2014, but finished last season as the club’s leading scorer with 13 goals in all competitions.

He is targeting a move to La Liga to enhance his chances of forcing his way into the Spanish national team, with Valencia likely to be an appealing destination given their top-four finish last term.

“There are going to be options,” said Perez, in an interview conducted at the end of last season. “That means I have done something well, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to leave 100 per cent. It’s going to be a difficult decision.”

A number of Spanish clubs have been linked with Perez in the past, but Valencia officials are hoping to force through a deal while Newcastle remain in a state of institutional paralysis, with doubts over the ownership of the club and future of manager Rafael Benitez.

Benitez was back at Newcastle’s training ground for the first time since the end of the season yesterday, with cameras spotting him entering and leaving the Darsley Park complex.

It is not thought that he held talks with either Lee Charnley or Mike Ashley, with the pair insisting they will not be drawn into another round of contract negotiations.

Benitez was issued with the terms of a new deal in the middle of last month, and has spent the last few weeks pondering his next move.

The Spaniard would like to remain in his current position, but continues to harbour long-standing concerns about Newcastle’s transfer policy. Ashley still wants to personally sign off all transfer business – a process that has led to delays and frustration in the past – and remains adamant that Newcastle should be prioritising the purchase of young players rather than pursuing more experienced options.

Ashley’s own future remains uncertain, with the Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group continuing to insist that their takeover attempt remains on track.

The group, which is led by Sheikh Khaled, issued a brief comment on Sunday night, claiming the takeover process was still on course. The Bin Zayed Group have signed a Heads of Terms agreement with Ashley, but are still to move towards a more detailed Sales Purchase Agreement, which would enable them to enact a transfer of shares.

Meanwhile, Salomon Rondon transferred his fine Premier League form to the international stage as his two goals against the United States saw him become Venezuela’s leading all-time goalscorer.

Rondon scored twice and claimed an assist as Venezuela claimed a 3-0 friendly win over the United States in Cincinnati. His goals took his international tally to 24, and saw him move ahead of Juan Arango on Venezuela’s all-time scoring list.

Benitez will be looking to sign Rondon permanently if he stays on as manager, but the striker is also attracting strong interest from Wolves, West Ham and Fenerbahce.