Perez is coming to the end of his fifth year at St James’ Park and is playing arguably his best football for the club, too, netting his eighth goal of the campaign with a brilliant glancing header to secure a 1-0 win away at Leicester City on Friday night.
The 25-year-old’s ability has never been in question but it is only now that he is starting to perform impressively on a regular basis, the Spaniard having established a fine relationship with Salomon Rondon and Miguel Almiron in Newcastle colours.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Benitez claims that Perez would even be worthy of a place in Pep Guardiola’s star-studded squad if he can built on his ongoing purple patch.
“To be fair, last season he scored eight goals and you can see he has the ability to a lot of time the right thing but sometimes he needs to be little more consistent. If not, maybe he’d be playing for Manchester City already,” said the Spaniard.
“He’s really good in a lot of things but there’s things he can improve and he’s working on that.”
In quotes reported by Goal, Perez admitted that he turned down a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona before joining Newcastle from Tenerife in the summer of 2015.
But he still has a long way to go before he can justifiably seek a move to one of Europe’s established elite.