Ayoze Perez is committed to Newcastle United – despite reported interest from Barcelona. The highly-rated forward has been linked with a surprise switch to the Nou Camp this summer, but Perez has insisted he is happy at St James' Park.
Perez joined the Magpies two years ago and even though they were relegated from the Premier League last season, the Spaniard is not allowing the speculation to distract him from helping his current employers.
"I have always been happy ever since I came here," said Perez, according to the Daily Telegraph. "That has not changed, even when we were relegated. Of course, that was bad, but not once have I thought about leaving this club.
"It is a professional thought, thinking about what is best for my career, but I always look at today, rather than the future and today I am happy at Newcastle. If you are happy in one place why leave?
"For me, what was the point of thinking 'I could go anywhere because of my career', this is good for me. Of course, during the summer, I could have gone to other teams, but I am still here. For me, the most important thing is being focused."
Perez admitted he is flattered by Barcelona's interest, but insisted Newcastle remain his immediate priority. "The talk of Barcelona watching me is something big, but if I started thinking about 'Barcelona, oh Barcelona', it would be wrong for me," he said.
"So I just kept focusing on Newcastle and the city because I'm a Newcastle player and that is the important thing. Yes, I do feel some loyalty, because this club gave me everything. When I came here I was a very young professional, so here was where everything started for me."
Meanwhile, Perez conceded Newcastle are under huge pressure to secure promotion back to the Premier League this season. "Teams in the Championship are desperate to beat us because we are Newcastle," said the reported Barcelona transfer target.
"You can see it in their eyes. We are the biggest club in this league and they want to be able to say they stopped Newcastle or they beat Newcastle."