Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez rejected Barcelona move in favour of St James' Park, according to Catalan giants' former director of football

The Spaniard chose the Premier League side as Barca wanted him to play for their second team first.

Former Barcelona director of football Andoni Zubizarreta has claimed that the Catalan giants tried to sign Ayoze Perez, but missed out as the striker opted instead to join Newcastle United, according to The Sun.

The 22-year-old moved to St James' Park from Tenerife for £1.5m in 2014 (via The Sun), but Zubizarreta stated that Barca had also been interested in the forward.

"A player I couldn't sign? We tried to sign Ayoze Perez," he said, as reported by The Sun.

The Sun reports that Perez seemingly decided to join the Magpies as a switch to the Nou Camp would have seen the Spaniard put into the second team. 

And if it was first-team football at the highest level that Perez was seeking when he decided to move on around two years ago, then he has certainly been vindicated in his decision to join Newcastle. 

He has made 59 Premier League appearances for the club. And while his return of 12 goals may not be particularly impressive, it must be noted that he has started 41 times, having often been utilised as an impact substitute. 

Although he's only scored five times this season, his goals have come at crucial times. He scored one and bagged an assist in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea - and did the same in the 6-2 win against Norwich - opened the scoring in the narrow 2-1 win over West Ham, and bagged the winners in the games against Bournemouth and Tottenham. 

While he may not have been prolific, there is no question that his goals have been vital for Steve McClaren's side this season, and without them, Newcastle would be in a much worse position than they are now.

And if he can score the goals that keep them up this term, then the club's supporters will be hugely grateful that he did reject the switch to the Nou Camp.

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