Benitez confirms Newcastle's interest in Arsenal striker Perez

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Rafael Benitez is interested in signing Lucas Perez from Arsenal as Newcastle United prepare for their return to the Premier League.

Benitez has grown increasingly frustrated with Newcastle's efforts in the transfer market, with only five new faces arriving at St James' Park despite owner Mike Ashley pledging to make "every last penny" the club earns available to the Spaniard.

Perez is out of favour at Arsenal following the signing of Alexandre Lacazette for a reported EUR60million fee and Arsene Wenger has suggested the forward is free to leave Emirates Stadium after a single season at the club.

And Benitez, who has injury concerns over striker Dwight Gayle ahead of Newcastle's first league match at home to Tottenham on Sunday, has targeted former Deportivo La Coruna attacker Perez as a potential addition to his forward options.

"I like the player because I have good friends in A Coruna," Benitez told reporters. "I know that he did really well. He's come here and not played in many games, but I like the player.

"We know what we need and will try to do it until the end of the transfer window. We are now trying to work in different directions."

But while Perez is of interest to Newcastle, Benitez says the club will have to sell players before being able to bring in any more signings.

"We are trying to move players out to bring players in. We know what we need," he added. "We are looking at different options. If we can't get one, we have to look at others.

"I decided to stay because of a lot of positive things I could see starting with the fans. Now I will try to do my best to be sure that the team we have will be good enough to compete and stay as high as we can in the Premier League."