Arsenal striker Lucas Perez was hailed to be a signing that the Gunners desperately needed to make last summer, with the fans, pundits and journalists extremely keen on a new striker at the helm of Arsenal football club. Admittedly Perez may not have been everyone’s first choice target over the course of the summer, but after what had been a difficult transfer window for the Gunners, I think Wenger and co will be happy to have got their hands on the Spaniard.
The impact anticipated from Perez was expectedly huge. The fans wanted a top class striker to come in and lead the line confidently for Arsenal, an area we have lacked in for some time. Perez’s arrival was an understatement in itself and despite having a good goalscoring record with Deportivo last season in the Spanish La Liga, he’s very much unproven on a consistent basis, especially with a lack of experience in the higher ranks of European football.
Perez has been in a bad place at the Emirates this season, having failed to regularly feature under Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. Wenger has left the striker on the sidelines on many occasions this season, and at various points of the campaign the player hasn’t even managed to take a place on the bench. In total he’s made 11 Premier League appearances, only two of which have been starts. He’s also started in one champions league game (in which he scored a hat-trick!), whilst the majority of his minutes have come from domestic cup matches in both the EFL and FA CUP competitions. Despite a lack of minutes, Perez has done relatively well with 7 goals to his name, but it would seem much more is expected from him.
Although it’s not his fault exactly, with Wenger choosing to leave the striker out of his team, Perez does have to work for his spot and clearly he isn’t impressing the Frenchman enough in training. Perez cannot be happy at his current position at Arsenal and as a result, speculation surrounding his near future has already begun.
In a Sky Sports report, Perez is quoted as saying: “I would like to prove that I’ve got the quality to win things with Arsenal. But if the moment comes when I can’t do that any more, or if they decide to transfer me, there is always the opportunity to go back to Depor. I know there are other clubs who want to sign me and my intention is to play in the Champions League. But in the summer we will see if Depor is still an option.”
The initial deal strikes me as a bit of a panic buy, a bit of a Park Chu Young situation, albeit a much more expensive one with a fair amount more quality. Wenger may have been pressured into signing a striker and with the end of the transfer window soon approaching at the time, options had become limited. We know Wenger reportedly tried to sign the likes of Vardy, Morata and Lacazette, all to no avail, so Lucas Perez may have been one of Wenger’s final choices.
I think admittedly because of the situation in which the player joined, where everyone was so keen on signing a striker, I think many of the fans naturally expected more from Perez. However perhaps he’s had too much pressure on him to make an immediate impact and the expectations have been set too high. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sale on the cards in the summer, whether that be to Deportivo or elsewhere; but with the player approaching his thirties and not getting regular game time, he’s sure to move on to pastures new.