Ayoze Perez: Alan Pardew says Porto were interested in striker
Newcastle had to beat some of the top clubs in Europe to sign forward Ayoze Perez, says manager Alan Pardew.
The 21-year-old Spaniard, who scored his third goal in as many games in Newcastle's victory over West Brom on Sunday, was signed for £1.5m from Tenerife in the summer.
"We scouted him throughout last year," said Pardew. "He was being courted by some big clubs, particularly Porto.
"But he loved the way we were so determined to bring him to this club."
|Newcastle manager Alan Pardew on Ayoze Perez's backheeled goal:|
|"That goal was worthy of winning any game. The cross had good pace on it but he had to add a little pace of his own with the flick, which was outstanding. He had some great little moments where he manoeuvred the ball too. It's difficult to play him up front on his own - that was a risk today - but he worked hard and put in a shift for us."|
Pardew, whose side have the third highest attendance in the Premier League behind Manchester United and Arsenal, added: "Of course, there's also the fact he would be playing in front of 50,000 Geordies every week at the third best-supported club in the country, or whatever it is we are.
"It's a big magnet for any young player. He's been a great buy for us."
Perez scored the opener at The Hawthorns with a sublime backheel, before Fabricio Coloccini made sure of the points with a close-range header.
Following the victory, which moves Newcastle up to eighth in the Premier League, Pardew name-checked a number of the young players who have impressed him in recent weeks.
Perez, Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid and Paul Dummett all got the manager's praise, and Pardew revealed he is close to giving 17-year-old youth product Adam Armstrong a chance in the first team.
"As a manager, you have visions of what is going to happen on the day and I thought I was going to put on Adam Armstrong to get the winner," said Pardew.
"No-one has seen this guy yet and we've got some nice little surprises to come. The young players did well today and I've been really buoyed by them in particular.
"They have given us an excitement we haven't had since the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy left."