Ayoze Pérez Gutiérrez born 29 July 1993) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a forward and attacking midfielder for Premier League club Leicester City.
He began his career at hometown club CD Tenerife, where he received several personal awards for his performances in the 2013–14 Segunda División season before joining Newcastle for around €2 million.
Ayoze has represented Spain internationally at under-21 level.
Born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Ayoze finished his formation with local Tenerife, making his senior debuts with the B-team in the 2011–12 season, in the fourth division. He appeared with the main squad in the third level in the following campaign, featuring in 16 matches and scoring once as the Blanquiazules returned to division two after a two-year absence.
After impressing in the 2013 pre-season, Ayoze played his first professional match on 18 August, starting in a 1–0 away defeat against Alcorcón. He scored his first goal in the "silver category" on 29 September, in a 1–0 home win over Real Madrid Castilla.
On 23 March of the following year Ayoze scored his first hat-trick of his career, starting in a 5–0 thrashing against Ponferradina. This was one of the performances which earned him the league's Player of the Month award, which he retained for a second consecutive time while his manager Álvaro Cervera won the equivalent.
In October 2014, Ayoze won the Breakthrough Player in the 2013–14 Segunda División and Best Attacking Midfielder in the 2013–14 Segunda División awards at the LFP Awards Ceremony.
On 5 June 2014 Ayoze rejected interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Porto to join Premier League club Newcastle United for an estimated €2 million fee. The deal was confirmed a day later. He made his league debut on 17 August, replacing fellow debutant Emmanuel Rivière in the 83rd minute of a 2–0 home defeat against Manchester City.
Ayoze scored his first goal in his first league start on 26 October, in a 2–1 away win over Tottenham Hotspur. Six days later, as a half-time substitute for Papiss Cissé, he scored the only goal of the game to defeat Liverpool and give Newcastle their fourth successive win. On 9 November, Ayoze made it three league goals in as many games in a 2–0 away win against West Bromwich Albion. His scored less frequently in the second half of the season as Newcastle struggled, but his equaliser against the same opponents on 9 May 2015 ended a run of eight consecutive defeats under John Carver, as the Toon eventually stayed up.
Pérez scored Newcastle's first in a 2–2 draw with title holders Chelsea on 26 September 2015. On 18 October, he recorded a goal in a 6–2 rout of Norwich City, Newcastle's first win of the season. He scored the only goal of an away win at Bournemouth on 7 November, with Newcastle's only shot on target. On 13 December, as a substitute, he scored an added-time winner at Tottenham Hotspur, moving Newcastle out of the relegation places.
On 1 February 2016, Newcastle United announced that Pérez signed a new contract, committing himself to the club until the summer of 2021.
Pérez stayed with Newcastle despite a drop into the Championship, helping the club return to the Premiership immediately after one season. Pérez ended the season with 9 goals in 25 appearances, with 11 of them coming as starts, scoring key goals against title rivals Brighton as well as Barnsley to help seal the Championship title on the final day of the season.
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