Steve Bruce has outlined his respect for former Newcastle United forward Ayoze Perez.
The Spaniard is set to return to St James’ Park for the first time on Wednesday night after leaving the Magpies for Leicester City in the summer.
Bruce insisted that he would have been happy to have had the striker at Newcastle this season, but revealed that he never met Perez before he left the club.
Speaking to the Chronicle, the Magpies’ boss revealed that he admires the forward, who arrived at the club from Tenerife, but ultimately admitted that sometimes the buy out clause overrules the club’s stance on players.
“I never met him…but obviously he had a buyout clause,” he said.
“I know he was popular here and a very good player.”
Given that Bruce arrived at St James’ Park and Perez had already departed to Leicester, it was easier for the boss to keep his answer simple. Newcastle received £30million for the Spaniard according to the Chronicle, and that is more than worth it for a striker that never consistently scored goals in the Premier League. Bruce is right, certain clauses for certain players are set to mainly scare off other sides from coming in for their marquee players. The 26-year-old managed to hit double figures in terms of goals last season for the first time in his career, and that certainly doesn’t justify his £30million price-tag, with Newcastle surely getting the better end of the deal. Perez hasn’t exactly hit the ground running for Brendan Rodgers either, starting all three Premier League games, failing to score and only having one shot [WhoScored]. Bruce may respect Perez, but he will be hoping that the Spaniard continues his so-called poor start to the campaign.