Newcastle’s scouts turn sights back to Spanish market as club linked with strike star

Ayoze Perez

Ayoze Perez

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Rafa Benitez could be ready to return to Spain – to make his first signing as Newcastle United manager.

The Toon boss has been linked with a swoop for Tenerife striker Nano.

Reports in Spain yesterday claimed the Magpies have watched the young striker as they look to bolster their squad ahead of the new season.

With the futures of many of the Newcastle players still uncertain after relegation from the Premier League, Benitez is continuing to monitor the club’s transfer situation.

Spain is obviously a market he knows well, and is one heavily scouted by Newcastle in the past.

They signed Ayoze Perez from Tenerife for a bargain £1.8million two years ago, and Nano is regarded as the next big thing out of the club.

The 21-year-old has been in impressive form this season, scoring 14 league goals in 22 starts for the Segunda Division outfit, and has attracted interest also from Real Betis, as well as other La Liga clubs.

The forward, born Alexander Mesa Travieso, has two years left on his contract.

And while Benitez wants players who are able to adapt instantly to life in the Championship, United may opt to move for the player in a manner similar to Perez and look to develop him.

As well as Perez, Newcastle were heavily linked with a double Spanish swoop last season, with forward David Concha and defender Jorge Mere both on their radar.

The duo were believed to have travelled to St James’s Park last summer where they were shown around by Perez, but Concha ended up joining Real Sociedad from Racing Santander on a five-year deal.

Mere stayed at Sporting Gijon, where he played 25 times last term as they avoided relegation from La Liga.

As well as chief scout Graham Carr, Newcastle have knowledge of the Spanish market through their academy’s head of recruitment Steve Nickson, who was responsible for scouting Perez, along with Concha and Mere.

However, Benitez also has his own network of contacts in his homeland, and with United coolling their interest in the French market that they have raided so often in recent seasons, it could be that they step up their scouting in Spain.