Back in January 2015, the future looked bright for Valencia and Enzo Perez.
The Mestalla giants had a new, ambitious owner in Peter Lim and, after years of scrimping, saving and selling their prized assets, were finally throwing their weight around in the transfer market once again.
Therefore, the £19.5 million signing of Benfica midfielder Perez, who had reached the World Cup final with Argentina a few months previously, appeared a watershed moment, as reported by Goal.
Enzo Perez has been a huge disappointment
Two-and-a-half years on, however, it’s fair to say neither club nor player has enjoyed the success they were hoping for. After finishing fourth under current Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo in 2014/15, Valencia have spent the last two seasons locked in crisis, going through manager after manager and tiptoeing around the bottom three.
Perez, meanwhile, has been one of the most disappointing signings in recent La Liga history. The snarling, all-action midfielder that shone at Benfica and was relentlessly linked with Manchester United has never found his feet on the Castellon coast.
He’s started just 54 La Liga games in two-and-a-half years, scoring no goals and setting up two. Therefore, it’s little surprise that new Los Che coach, Marcelino, has made clear that Perez has no future at Valencia.
New man at Newcastle?
It is a surprise, however, that Newcastle United are interested. According to Marca, The Magpies are willing to pay £8.5 million this summer for a 31-year-old who has lost his place in the Argentina national team in recent years.
Manager Rafael Benitez has been frustrated by the lack of transfer activity at St James’ Park this summer, as reported by the Daily Mail, and Fabian Delph’s impending move to Stoke City has only increased the tensions.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez
However, while Perez’s form at Valencia won’t fill supporters with optimism, he may just find that English football is a better fit. The veteran is a tenacious enforcer rather than a player with natural technique, meaning La Liga’s cerebral style always jarred.
And he is more than a big name. At just £8.5 million, he could be a surprisingly astute addition to Benitez’s squad. And it would finally get Newcastle off the mark this summer.