Ayoze Perez makes bold statement on Newcastle United's future amid Rafa Benitez talks
Ayoze Perez says the only way is up for Newcastle United – if Rafa Benitez stays at the club.
Benitez, out of contract this summer, yesterday met owner Mike Ashley to discuss a new deal.
And United’s players, like the club’s supporters, are waiting for news of a breakthrough.
Benitez is looking for more investment – and more autonomy in the transfer market – after guiding the club to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League.
Newcastle fans chanted “Rafa Benitez, we want you to stay” during Sunday’s 4-0 win over Fulham.
Ashley thanked Benitez and his players for their efforts this season after the game at Craven Cottage, where Perez found the net.
Perez believes Benitez can take the club far higher with the right backing.
“We all know – everybody in the club, the city, the fans – that everybody wants him to stay,” said the forward.
“We know how good we can become under Rafa. That’s why everybody’s asking him to stay. It’s not in our hands, but we’ll see what happens during the summer.”
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Salomon Rondon, Jonjo Shelvey and Fabian Schar also scored against Fulham.
And Perez has thanked United fans for their “amazing support”.
“It’s such a great way to end the season, with a 4-0 win away from home,” said the 25-year-old. “Amazing support again. Obviously, I’m very thankful for the support, and to be able to score again and finish on a high.
“It’s been an unbelievable season for the team.”
Perez ended the season with 12 league goals – and 13 in all competitions. That total bettered last season’s goal tally of 10 in all competitions.
“I always set a target to get better numbers than last season,” said Perez, who will consider his “options” this summer after five years at St James’s Park.
“I could do it, so that means I’ve done something well. I’m so proud and happy to have done it, to be able to help the team scoring goals. I could have scored another one. The mood in the dressing room has been great.
“It’s been a great season, ups and downs, better moments, bad moments, but, overall, it’s been an unbelievable season...13 goals for myself and finishing 13th, which is something to be proud of.
“It’s a great afternoon for ourselves, and now it’s time to enjoy.
“I’m off to Spain. I’m looking for some sun. Now I’m focused on enjoying my holidays, to rest, because I need it.”