Rafael Benitez hopeful on Ayoze Perez stay at Newcastle

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez is hopeful striker Ayoze Perez remains at the club despite being linked with a return to Spain.

The 25-year-old has netted 11 Premier League goals for the Magpies this campaign and has two years remaining on his contract, having moved to England from Tenerife five years ago.

“In the summer, there are going to be options,” Perez told reporters earlier this month.

“That means I have done something well. I'll be up for hearing what is coming, but it doesn't mean I am going to leave 100 percent at the end of the season.

“It is going to be a difficult decision and depends on a lot of things.”

Perez explained on El Chiringuito TV last month: “After five years here, it is maybe time to change.

“My idea is to return to Spanish football, I want to play for a big club in La Liga, that would be great for my career.

“I have adapted to this league (in England) and have good goal scoring numbers but life here is not as good as in Spain.”

Benitez responded to such speculation this weekend: “Yes, he is an important player for us.

“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, deal with that.”

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