Hardly any Newcastle United fans could believe their eyes when the club agreed to sell Ayoze Perez to Leicester City in the summer transfer window.
Even though Mike Ashley had not appointed a successor to Rafa Benitez in the St James’ Park hotseat at the time, the loathed Sports Direct tycoon took asset stripping to the extreme when he gave the green light to offload one of the club’s best players from last season.
After finishing the 2018/19 campaign as Newcastle’s top goalscorer with 13 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions, Leicester felt prepared to splash £30million on prising Perez away from Tyneside.
The Spanish attacker’s exit, understandably, led to a lot of criticism from Newcastle supporters over the way that the club was being ran by Ashley in a summer of knives.
He lost Benitez, Salomon Rondon’s loan deal was never turned into a permanent one and then, almost out of the blue, Perez was gone too.
Everyone was baffled, but now it is starting to look as though the Spaniard has made a huge mistake by joining Leicester after Brendan Rodgers took the decision to axe him from his starting line-up on Saturday.
Rotation may have been on Rodgers’ mind following Perez’s 90-minute-long showing against his former club Newcastle in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, but based on stats by WhoScored, it sure seems like the £45,000-a-week [Spotrac] player lost his place due to an awful run of form.
It’s unlikely to come as much of a shock to Newcastle fans who watched Perez play for them over the years but the Spaniard hadn’t completed a single key pass in two Premier League matches in a row against Chelsea and Wolves before he stepped up and created a bit more by making two against newly-promoted Sheffield United.
Successful passes? Just 77.1 per cent of them have been completed across his three Premier League appearances for the East Midlands side and being dispossessed 2.3 times per match is hardly anything to be pleased about either.
For Perez, it might have been a better idea for him to stay put at Newcastle were he was a big fish in a small pond.
In the Leicester squad, he is surrounded by top players like Youri Tielemans, Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, who are more likely to steal the limelight and create an abundance of chances without really needing to rely on the former Newcastle player’s input.
That’s not how it always goes for players when they move from club to club but in this case, Perez the grass has so far not proven to be any greener on the other side of the fence.