Leicester City Opinion: 3 ways that the Foxes can use £30 million man Ayoze Perez next season
According to BBC, Leicester City have completed a £30 million raid on Newcastle United for Spanish attacker Ayoze Perez, with reports claiming that the 25-year-old has put pen to paper on a lucrative four-year deal at the King Power Stadium.
Perez becomes manager Brendan Rodgers’ second signing to the summer following the acquisition of versatile full-back James Justin from Luton Town.
The reported £30 million transfer fee for Ayoze Perez eclipses the £29 million that the Foxes shelled out to bring Islam Slimani to the club back in the summer of 2016, meaning that the 25-year-old becomes Leicester’s new club-record signing.
Leicester City were expected to spend big this summer to provide Rodgers with the best possible squad ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign and the acquisition of Perez can definitely be looked upon as a strong statement of intent from the Foxes.
Securing a permanent deal for Youri Tielemans continues to be a priority for the club and they might as well have to break their transfer record for the second time this summer if they are really serious about having the Belgian’s services available for the years to follow.
Nevertheless, they have already made the headlines with the big-money deal for Perez.
After rising to prominence with Spanish second-tier club Tenerife, Perez earned a £1.5 million move to the Premier League with Newcastle United back in 2014.
The 25-year-old’s time at St.James’ Park proved to be quite a fruitful one, as he went on to establish himself as a first-team regular under former manager Rafael Benitez.
Perez registered a total of 48 goals and 17 assists in 195 appearances for the Magpies in all competitions, with his tally of 12 goals in the Premier League last season being the best of his career so far.
While those figures look pretty mediocre on paper, one must not forget that the Spaniard arrived at Newcastle from the Spanish second division as a complete rookie.
Perez was still very much in the developmental phase of his career at that time and he definitely deserves a lot of credit for gradually acclimatising to one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
That should not bother Leicester too much, however, given that the Spaniard is just about to enter his prime years at 25, and a little bit of moulding from Rodgers would see them have a near-finished article in their hands.
Leicester were in the market for a new striker to provide cover for Jamie Vardy following the departure of Shinji Okazaki and Ayoze Perez could play that role to perfection next season.
Of course, they have Kelechi Iheanacho in their ranks but, given that the Nigerian only contributed with a solitary goal in 30 Premier League outings last season, the Foxes would be better off not relying too heavily on the Nigerian.
Here are 3 ways Leicester City can make use of their new £30 million signing Ayoze Perez:-
1. Back-up for Vardy as an out-and-out centre-forward
Perez is neither particularly tall nor exceptionally strong but he makes up for it with his impeccable technical abilities on the ball, sharpness, agility, a good turn of pace and a high level of footballing intelligence.
He might not be as prolific as Jamie Vardy but Leicester can, indeed, look at him as a capable back-up for their talismanic centre-forward.
As evident from his displays over the years, the Spaniard can be a tricky customer for defenders with clever his movement off the ball. That coupled with his awareness and instincts to get into the right positions inside the box make him a genuine goal threat up front.
To add to that, he is clinical in front of goal and his ability to find the net with both feet often makes him a nightmare for defences.
Vardy has been Leicester’s go-to man for goals ever since their promotion to the Premier League but he isn’t getting any younger and the arrival of Perez should help ease the burden on his shoulders.
2. A number No.10 role behind the striker
Perez is not only boasts of the instincts and the spatial awareness of an out-and-out striker but he also has the creativity and the technical skills to operate in the hole behind the centre-forward.
The Spaniard’s ability to create space for his teammates, work the channels with short and slick exchanges, as well as his movement off the ball to run into those half-spaces between the full-backs and the centre-backs mean that he falls in the bracket of a playmaking forward.
Agreed, Leicester already have James Maddison as their main creative outlet in that No.10 role but the presence of Perez in the ranks would provide Rodgers that little bit more luxury in terms of team selection, whilst also doing a world of good to his squad dynamics.
Maybe, one would get to see Maddison being shifted to a wide left role in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Perez playing through the middle in some of the games next season.
3. As a winger on the left
Perez is not a natural winger by trade but his pace, dribbling ability and versatility means that he can slot into a wide role as well.
Leicester do have the likes of Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray as options out wide on the left and while, Perez might not be as electric and explosive as them, the Spaniard can alter the balance of the game with his technical abilities and knack for getting into scoring positions.
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The likes of Maddison and Barnes are both capable of operating in central, as well as wide roles in the final third and the presence of Perez would allow Rodgers to rotate his options effectively.
All in all, Ayoze Perez can be looked upon as yet another young and exciting addition to Leicester City’s ranks.