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Ayoze Proves His Worth

Clutch performances have earned the confidence of Rafa, and it has payed off greatly.

Newcastle United v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ayoze Perez has not been a golden boot contender or an indefensible presence. Sometimes he will disappear from a match, but then he shows up when the stakes are highest. This is the undeniable reason why he must be kept at Newcastle United.

Newcastle United v Cheltenham Town: EFL Cup Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Since arriving from CD Tenerife in 2014 for a 1.8 million pound transfer fee, the value of Newcastle’s Spanish striker has far eclipsed his marginal transfer fee. Ayoze has been moved around in the boss’ formations, playing out wide on the left, as a CAM, and as a lone striker. As much as he has moved around in the lineup, he has been a fixture in an ephemeral roster. Many players’ stints at the club were short-lived, especially of the players signed by Alan Pardew, but Perez has remained despite significant turnover.

Ayoze has spent almost 4 seasons in the Northeast and he has endured the same disappointment and embarrassment that we have as fans. In addition to the pain of relegation, Perez was here for the messy ending to the Pardew era, he saw out the Carver “era”, he stayed through the McClaren era, and he was rewarded, like the rest of us, with the Benitez era.

7 goals and 0 assists in the Premier League in 2014/15

6 goals and 2 assists in the Premier League in 2015/16

9 goals and 6 assists in the Championship in 2016/17

3 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League in 2017/18 so far

Some may say that he is inconsistent or that he’s not good enough to start going forward, but nobody can say he doesn’t play for the badge on his kit.

During this season, Perez has scored winning goals against Stoke and Huddersfield and another goal in a 2-2 draw at Southampton. He provided assists against West Ham, against Crystal Palace and at Bournemouth. These 3 goals and 3 assists are his only ones of the year, but they have all come in important matches against other teams fighting to avoid relegation.

Ayoze has always been a big game player. Remember back to 2015 when he scored in stoppage time to beat Tottenham or when he scored and assisted to earn Newcastle a point at home vs defending league champions Chelsea. If Ayoze Perez hadn’t scored in the 89th minute against Brighton in the Championship, we would not have won the title.

He might not have the goal and assist totals that you’d expect from a starting striker or attacking midfielder, but he provides them when we need it most. Players with such loyalty and clutch ability are few and far between. Ayoze has more value to this club than the transfer market will indicate.