With new signing Miguel Almiron sure to make his Newcastle debut in the coming weeks, Ayoze Perez looks to have stepped up his game in response.
The forward has hardly been electric this year, but he’s improved immeasurably after a woeful start.
He was easily the Toon’s most unpopular player for the last few months of 2018, his lack of strength and awareness coming into criticism.
But Perez’s partnership with Salomon Rondon was undeniably Newcastle’s best striking option, and the Spaniard’s work rate has made up for his lack of goals in 2019.
However against Spurs on Saturday, the striker played out of his skin.
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He showed bags of skill and dribbling creativity, taking on any Spurs player in his way.
Of course his decision making in the final third still left a lot to be desired, but the Spaniard for once showed just what he can bring to the table.
The sudden burst of form seems to have come out of nowhere, but it’s no secret Almiron is threatening to take Perez’s place.
If Perez continues to play like this, it will give Rafa Benitez a real selection headache.
Newcastle fans react to Perez against Spurs
Almiron vs Perez
However for a lot of Newcastle fans, Perez’s performance was nothing new.
It’s well known by now that the forward has some ability, but has too many flaws to be a Premier League success.
A flash of skill here and there will not score you goals, and against Spurs, the striker made poor decisions in the final third.
He shot from 25 yards rather than play Ritchie in for a 1-on-1 and he neglected to shoot on one occasion when given a gift-edged opportunity.
The times he did create space for himself in the box, he was often unable to find another Newcastle player.
Creative number ten Almiron has been brought in to solve this problem.
However the question is how fast can he adapt to the Premier League?
Almiron is used to a more free-flowing spacious style in the MLS and he’s also similarly lightweight like Perez.
The nightmare scenario will be that Newcastle have bough another Perez for a hefty sum.
Hopefully Newcastle’s counter-attack style will suit him and he can help save them from relegation.