Newcastle United surprise as £16m trio handed major Euro 2024 squad call-up

Rafa Benitez (left), Ayoze Perez (centre) and Joselu during their Newcastle United daysRafa Benitez (left), Ayoze Perez (centre) and Joselu during their Newcastle United days
Rafa Benitez (left), Ayoze Perez (centre) and Joselu during their Newcastle United days | Getty Images
The former Newcastle United trio cost just £16million and have made Spain’s provisional squad for Euro 2024

Former Newcastle United stars Ayoze Perez, Mikel Merino and Joselu have made Spain’s provisional squad for Euro 2024.

All three featured for the Magpies under Rafa Benitez’s three-and-a-half-year reign on Tyneside. Perez - whose time at St James’ Park predated Benitez’s - arrived for a paltry £1.5million from Tenerife in 2014.

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He was thrown into the deep end, tasked with leading the line for a Toon outfit fighting relegation. Perez would ultimately prove a useful asset for Newcastle over the next five years before Leicester City stumped up £30million in 2019.

Now aged 30, the forward has earned his first international call-up ahead of Euro 2024 after impressing for Real Betis. Likewise, former Toon flop Joselu looks nailed on to make the final cut for his displays at Real Madrid.

The 34-year-old was signed as a makeshift striker to plug a gap but etched his name into Bernabeu folklore with a stunning late brace against Bayern Munich earlier this month. That double fired Madrid into the Champions League final - a far cry from how his dismal Newcastle career panned out.

The Magpies let Joselu leave for just £2.5million five years ago and few would have predicted his resurgence. But the same could not have been said about Merino, the silky midfielder who wowed the Toon faithful on arrival.

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Personal issues meant he played just 25 times for Newcastle before joining Real Sociedad. Merino remains at the La Liga club and has developed into one of Europe’s top midfielders - attracting reported interest from Manchester City.

The 6ft 2in playmaker has earned 20 Spain caps and is a shoo-in to make the final squad. Nations have until June 7 - a week before the tournament - to nail down their 26-man selection.

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