Rafael Benitez confirmed that he has spoken to Arsene Wenger about signing Lucas Perez, but was informed that Newcastle United will have to meet Arsenal's £13.4m ($17.4m, €15m) valuation to have any chance of signing the player.
The Spanish striker is surplus to requirement at Arsenal and he is not in the manager's plans for the upcoming season having been omitted from all the preparations during pre-season. He made just two starts in the Premier League last season following his £17m move from Deportivo La Coruna and has made it clear that he wants to leave the club this summer.
Perez's former club are interested in signing him but have been unable to match the Gunners' valuation of the player and Benitez, who is looking for attacking additions, confirmed interest in the player earlier in the month. The former Liverpool boss admitted that he spoke to Wenger when the pair met at the annual pre-season Premier League manager's meeting.
"I was talking with Arsene yesterday because we had the manager's meeting and I said, 'Listen, we have to talk.' He said, 'Listen, you have some money?' I like the player but it's too soon to talk about that," Benitez said, as quoted by ESPN.
Benitez brought Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and has thus far made six additions to prepare for life back in the top-flight. The Spaniard, however, admitted recently that he was not happy with the club's transfer business and admitted that he is looking to make further additions.
Meanwhile, Wenger recently confirmed that Arsenal are looking to trim the squad as the numbers are too high, but players' wage demands and clubs' reluctance to meet the Gunners' valuation have limited the progress on the departure front.
Wojciech Szczesny, who joined Juventus and Yaya Sanogo, who was released, are the only two permanent first-team departures while Emiliano Martinez has moved to La Liga side Getafe on a season-long loan. A number of players, namely Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy and Perez, are surplus and will be allowed to leave if suitable offers arrive.