Newcastle United close in on Spanish striker

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NEWCASTLE United are hoping to complete the signing of Spanish youngster Ayoze Perez – but they will have to wait until the striker finishes his season with Tenerife.

The Magpies have moved into pole position to capture the 20-year-old forward as they look to get their transfer business done early this summer.

But any move will have to wait until Tenerife complete their league season, with the island club still having three matches to play.

Perez has scored 16 goals in 34 matches this season for Tenerife, albeit in Spanish football’s second tier.

However, his form has alerted Newcastle. who need attacking reinforcements in time for next season.

Perez is reported to have a £2m buyout clause in his contract, and is viewed by the Magpies as a player for the future who will provide back-up to their main strikers.

Portuguese side Porto were reportedly keen on the youngster, who has yet to represent Spain at any level, but Newcastle are believed to have stolen a march on their rivals.

They have opened talks with Tenerife over a deal for Perez, and are willing to offer him a four-year contract.

The forward line is a priority for the Magpies, with Loic Remy unlikely to return after his year-long loan spell, Shola Ameobi out of contract and set to move on, and Papiss Cisse injured until September with a broken kneecap.

Newcastle don’t have a good record of raiding Spanish football for signings, with previous buys Marcelino, Xisco and Albert Luque all proving to be expensive flops.

Meanwhile, the club has also been linked with a move for Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell, who is set to leave the Premier League champions this summer.

H Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana remains a priority summer signing for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers but progress on any deal has been slow.

It is understood discussions are ongoing with the Saints over the possibility of a move but they are not yet close to agreeing a fee and no conclusion is likely in the near future.

The Reds, who are also interested in Lallana’s team-mate Dejan Lovren, are keen to take the 26-year-old international to Anfield but are considering alternatives should they reach a sticking point.

Closer to home Liverpool have also reached an impasse with Glen Johnson over an extension to his contract as the defender approaches the final year of his current deal.

It is understood the right-back, who turns 30 in August, has been offered the opportunity to stay for an additional 12 months but the England international is looking for a longer-term contract.

Johnson is one of the highest earners in the squad and the club do not want to commit significant finances to a lengthier deal and are content to allow his contract to run down should no agreement by reached.

Liverpool also have an interest in Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to provide competition for Simon Mignolet while they are also tracking Bayer Leverkusen’s Germany Under-21 midfielder Emre Can.