Newcastle beat Barcelona to signing of Spanish star, admits ex-director of football

Ayoze Perez
Ayoze Perez

Newcastle United pipped Spanish giants Barcelona to the signing of Ayoze Perez.

Former Barca director of football Andoni Zubizarreta has admitted being interested in the young Spaniard when he was plying his trade at Tenerife in Spain’s Segunda Division.

The Champions League holders wanted to bring Perez into their ‘B’ team in the hope he would develop into a first team star.

But Newcastle moved quickly to snap up the talented forward for just £1.5million in the the summer of 2014.

Zubizarreta, who was sacked in January, said: “A player I couldn’t sign? We tried to sign Ayoze Perez.

“I thought he was an interesting player, first for the B-team – like Denis [Suarez].”

Perez has established himself as a first team regular at Newcastle, and was named North East Young Player of the Season after his first campaign in England.

He signed a new contract at Newcastle last week keeping him at the club until 2021.