Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Newcastle United Linked With This Experienced La Liga Enforcer: A Wise Head To Have In Midfield?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

Newcastle United have reportedly received a welcome and unexpected boost in their pursuit of midfielder Enzo Perez who has been offered by La Liga Valencia CF to numerous Premier League sides. The Argentine international is extremely experienced at the top level and Rafael Benitez is definitely not going to miss the chance to land him in a transfer period that has otherwise been difficult for the Spaniard.

The Toon manager is desperate to make new additions to the squad, but given the cut-throat competition in the transfer market, Benitez has found himself in deep waters. Except for the buy of Christian Atsu from Chelsea FC, who spent the previous season on loan with at St. James’ Park and has secured a permanent deal now, Newcastle haven’t been lucky with any of their other targets.

Although Newcastle United were almost perfect last season in the Championship as they dominated every aspect and won the league, things are bound to be a lot different this time. Benitez, having previously managed the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, knows well the sudden surge in the level they have just made and how good a squad they need to survive.

Although midfield is the last thing Benitez would need attending, given the available quality and quantity of players for him, Enzo Perez’s inclusion would go to a large extent in improving it. The combative midfielder can be immensely versatile in the defensive third and his 14 years of professional career means the Magpies have a leader at their side.

Reportedly, Valencia have found the player redundant to their available squad for the next season and are holding out for an affordable £8.8million (€10m) for him. Although Perez is on the wrong side of 30, which makes his price tag a tad subject to scepticism, his quality doesn’t disapprove it. In fact, when Valencia had bought him back in 2015 for a whopping €25m, he was stated as the 10th most expensive Argentine of all time.

He played 27 times last season in La Liga, managing one goal in the process. But, Perez is more of a holding midfielder whose strength lies in helping get a smooth transition from offence to defence and vice versa. It is his defensive contributions that are vital and the fact that he averaged 3.2 tackles per game and 2.2 interceptions last season, says it all.

An academy product of Argentine Side Club Deportivo Godoy Cruz, Perez made his big move to current Liga NOS champions Benfica from Estudiantes. Benfica kept him on a season-long loan with the Argentine side before they gave him his big break. He was a big hit there winning the championship twice and every other domestic title available.

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