Ayoze Perez close to move away from Newcastle after Leicester trigger his £30m release clause
Ayoze Perez is close to following Rafael Benitez out of Newcastle after Leicester tabled a £30million bid.
PA understands the Foxes have triggered a release clause in the 25-year-old Spaniard's contract to pave the way for a move to the King Power Stadium.
Perez, a £1.6million signing from Tenerife in June 2014, has been the club's top scorer for the last two seasons, notching on 13 occasions during the last campaign
Twelve of those goals, which included a hat-trick in a vital victory over Southampton in April, came in the Premier League.
He has been linked with clubs in Spain and Italy in recent months, although Benitez was confident of persuading him to stay had he managed to agree his own contract extension.
However, Benitez's departure at the weekend, coupled with the ongoing takeover saga at St James' Park, has done little to calm the waters and Perez, who has 24 months left on his contract, seems set to leave after five years on Tyneside during which he has gradually won over many of his detractors.
While the deal might represent good business on a balance sheet - it comes close to rivalling Andy Carroll's £35m move to Liverpool in January 2011 - it would leave the Magpies without a proven strike force and no manager with the new season just a month away.
Salomon Rondon has returned to West Brom after scoring 12 goals during a hugely successful loan spell last season, with the club's reluctance to sanction a permanent £16.5m swoop for the 29-year-old proving to be one of the factors in Benitez's decision to leave.
Those players who have not been on international duty this summer are due to return for pre-season training on Thursday to be greeted by an empty manager's office - either Ben Dawson, the club's head of academy coaching or new under-23s boss Neil Redfearn is expected to be placed in temporary charge.
January signing Miguel Almiron will arrive later having played his part in Paraguay's Copa America campaign, but he could find the two men with whom he formed a promising attacking trio during the second half of last season, Perez and Rondon, nowhere to be seen.
Sources on Tyneside have insisted the proceeds from Perez's sale would be ploughed back into the playing squad, although finding an adequate replacement could prove challenging given the turmoil currently surrounding the club, also braced for a bid from Manchester United for promising midfielder Sean Longstaff.