Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren has urged in-demand striker Ayoze Perez to remain with the club beyond the January transfer window.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to a number of big clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham after impressing at St James’ Park since his £1.4 million switch from Tenerife in 2014.
McClaren feels Perez should stay at Newcastle because he is loved by the supporters, while receiving the valuable regular action and coaching for him to fulfil what the ex-England manager believes is his “massive” potential.
“His career is definitely best served here – absolutely,” McClaren told the Chronicle.
“He is getting development, a good education, the right training and most important of all, he is playing.
“It is important he keeps playing and it is also important that he is supported and loved. Here, the fans love him, his team-mates love him and we love him too so it is a great environment for Ayoze to develop.
“It has taken him a while to get going this season, but he has certainly become an important player.
“I look at him though, and he has still got a long way to go. There is a lot to do, but the potential is massive.”
McClaren was asked to guarantee that Perez would still be with Newcastle for the second half of the season.
“January is not here yet,” he said. “We will only know by the end of January, when we hold on to our best players.
“Ayoze is someone who is doing very well. He has got to do it consistently every game, for 95 minutes, but that is what we are asking from every player.
“We are wanting a front four who are consistently threatening and he is part of that.”
Newcastle host in-form Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
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