Is Lucas Perez right to be annoyed at his limited opportunities at Arsenal?

Great things were expected of Lucas Perez when he arrived at The Emirates last summer fresh from banging in 18 goals in La Liga the previous season. He came with a £17 million price tag and a big reputation and was expected to lead Arsenal to new heights, but it did not work out that way. The Spanish striker was barely given a chance and Arsenal ended up falling to their worst league finish since Arsene Wenger took charge 21 years ago. Now he is demanding to leave the club after an “ugly gesture” that saw his shirt number given to new £52 million signing Alexandre Lacazette. He expressed his frustration at the lack of opportunities he has been given at The Emirates and seems destined for the exit door, but is he right to bemoan his limited playing time?

In a word, yes. Whenever he was called upon Perez looked extremely dangerous. He only started two league games, one Champions League fixture and six cup matches, making a further 12 substitute appearances, but he scored eight goals and has three assists in that short time on the pitch. He also frequently looked like he could make something happen and caused panic in the opposition defence. Just think what he could have done if he was given an extended run in the team.

Given his price tag, he would have been entitled to think he would get a fair chance to prove his mettle. After all, he is not a youngster: Perez is 28 years old, in his prime and desperate to nail down a place in the Spain squad. Competition is fierce for places at Arsenal, but Perez certainly deserved more opportunities to justify his transfer fee and win over the Gunners faithful.

Arsenal started the campaign with two main strikers: Oliver Giroud, a decent finisher but one of the slowest forwards in the business, and Danny Welbeck, a quick and nimble striker but a poor finisher. Perez promised to combine the best qualities of both players and drive Arsenal up the table. After all, you do not score 18 goals for a relegation threatened Spanish side – Deportivo finished 15th in the table and scraped survival – without being a strong finisher, and he is far quicker than Giroud. On top of that, Welbeck is frequently injured, while Theo Walcott is better on the wing, so he should have been starting most games.

Instead Wenger experimented with playing Alexis Sanchez down the middle and the Chilean was a revelation. There is no doubt that Sanchez is the better player, which is why the world’s best clubs are linked with him this summer and the best Perez can seemingly hope for is a move back to Deportivo, but Perez is versatile and could have played out wide. In the second half of the campaign Wenger moved Sanchez back to the wing, but opportunities were still not forthcoming in a central role for Perez, with Welbeck and Giroud preferred, despite neither of them setting the world alight.

He has every right to feel aggrieved. But then again Wenger sees him week in, week out on the training pitch and may have decided he simply made a mistake in signing the Spaniard. Now is the time to sell him and move on. He has behaved with decency throughout, but says the decision to give Lacazette his shirt number while on a pre-season tour, without asking him, is “the final straw”. The Gunners should accept an £8 million loss and sell him back to Deportivo for £9 million, where he will once again be the big fish in the small pond and can stake his claim for a place in the Spain squad for next summer’s World Cup.

Arsenal now have bigger fish to fry. The pond at Arsenal is getting bigger with the arrival of Lacazette and the expected advent of Thomas Lemar. Giroud and Welbeck are going nowhere, and Walcott does not seem to be either, while Wenger keeps insisting that Sanchez will not be sold. Arsenal’s attacking options are now looking more exciting than they have done for a while, and they will surely finish higher up the table next season.

The latest betting on football markets sees Arsenal at even money to finish in the top four next season. That looks a great bet as they will not be distracted by Champions League football and have the firepower to challenge for the title. Just a shame for Perez that he won’t be around to see it.

Martin Green (Who has seen far worse forwards than Perez grace The Emirates in recent times.!)

Updated: July 26, 2017 — 3:39 pm


  1. Of course
    Wenger treated him unfairly
    He played well in FA Cup and should have been given more opportunity in the Premier League

    I think Wenger got him to appease the fans because he didn’t get a top striker like everyone wanted.

    Lucas should be sold so he can be given the opportunity to fight for a starting position. He is a good player
    I wish him all the best


    2. I really feel for him.He was treated without respect I remember saying here that our season also depended on him because we knew Welbeck and Giroud were not good enough.However, he came and didn’t really impress in the CF role but impressed on the wing but I felt he would’ve done very well in the Ozil role earlier in the season.He used to be an AMF for Deportivo but they changed him to a CF.This is why I believe he shouldn’t have been signed in the first place.It was poor business from Arsenal to sign him because we needed a typical killer CF.Lucas is a more of a No. 10 style kind of player as he played there for Deportivo prior to the season where he played CF.If you look at his style of play you can see that he’s not your typical CF.think Wenger benched him because he didn’t solve our CF problem but I guess it’s not Lucas’ fault.

      1. Lucas will be going back to Deportivo and it’s just a matter of time before the clubs agree a fee for his sale.

    3. Arsane Wenger, The leech of Arsenal. He has lost his eye for talent quite some time back, our academy does not produce anymore quality players, not even one a year. We dont have young English/German talent, not we are getting good young French talent anymore. A weak Asia/American scouting network and last 7-8 years we flopped with most transfers both in Asia,North and South America. Other teams are evolving by investing in young players, or investing in ready-made top players. We lack money to invest 200m each year, and lack organization to invest in youth. Buying all African talent(forgive my words) because they come for less salary is what we have done in recent past.

      1. Dude how many African Talent has Wenger bought?? Iwobi is from our academy. Nwakali, yes bought. who else and who cares if they are cheap?? Holding was expensive?? And How does signing an African player affects Arsenal? why does it look like this is like a comment against the blacks even though you tried not to force it to be?

        1. Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings, I mean for players who come for less wages and less transfer fees. And I mean for players coming from leagues or countries which are not in top 10. South America has been hunting ground of Porto/Benfica/Monaco for ages. Dortmund gets many German and French talent. Chelsea and Real pays for a lot of young players from all over the world. We are no Bayern or Real or Barca that young players will dream to come to us. One Holding can not redeem 10 years of failure, which other young and capable players were bought for less in last 5-6 years? Iwobi is good example, but he has 26 appearances last year, 13 the year after, you really think he has the quality to be a regular in the side?

  2. Ian wrights bruva

    Giving the mans shirt number away without an consultation seems underhand and lacks class.

    He done well when he was given his chance so I can see why he wants to bugger off.

    I wonder if wenger told him he would be a squad player with a chance to break into the first team, or what the players expectation where.

    Either way he feels let down and I can understand why, especially if he was given the belief that he would get his chance and would feature in a decent amount of games if he proved himself.

    Would be interested to hear the players and managers view on the situation

    1. Poor Lucas my foot! I’m tired of all these articles and comments extolling his virtues as the best striker Arsenal never had.
      I’ve actually watched him play and he is decent. Forget the stats cos it makes him look better than he was. He was one footed and his right leg was just for standing. Even Giroud contributes to play more than he does.
      His goals came in bursts in very easy games and most were tap ins any other player could have scored.
      As for giving his number away, that is hogwash. He flew to Spain immediately after the FA cup and granted an interview to a Spanish paper stating that he didn’t want to play for Arsenal again and wanted a new club.
      So why wouldn’t the shirt number be given out to a CF that was bought to replace him seeing as he had all but handed in a transfer request.
      I don’t remember Lucas Poldoski, Andre Ashavin or any other ‘poorly’ treated player bad mouthing Arsene Wenger and the Club while still in the employ of Arsenal.
      Lucas had more game time than a certain south Korean ‘park’. And yet we didn’t hear any of this crap in the media about being unfairly treated.

      1. Mr Eddy hoyte, could you be a little clearer in elucidating your points as against asking me to keep quiet simply because you do not agree with my point of view.
        Don’t act immature!

      2. Yes, he is average, but he is in a squad where 90% are average. So why Walcott gets more chances? Why Iwobi gets more chances? Just because you have a player for years, dont deprive others of their chances, else why buy a player who is 27-28 years old in the first place thinking you have a bargain?
        For years, he was the best striker in a smaller club, was very good in La Liga as he had his chances, his minutes, and he was productive. Suddenly he came to a bigger club, got a new manager who never tries different things and tries to stick to same starting 11 if possible! We dont know yet, but to persuade a player to sign you have to promise something, a role, some minutes. It felt like AW did not keep his promise with him, and this is not the first time AW lies to fan or public, remember?

        1. Iwobi might be average right now, but has a lot of potential due to his young age, however Lucas is 29 and cannot improve anymore so will remain average hence does not need to b given more chances.
          You all forget that you watch them for 90 minutes every week while Wenger watches then train for 6 hrs every day!

    2. I’m pretty sure Wenger told Lucas he would be a first team player. When Lucas joined, Sanchez was playing really well as a striker and can remember an interview with Lucas where he stated he thought he would be a first team player and expected more minutes. Wish Lucas well at his new club, very good player who conducted himself with class throughout.

      1. How could you possibly be sure he was told he’d be in the first team???

        Wenger may have said “I didnt really want you, you only have one good foot, you’ve only ever had one good season, and you were a panic buy at the end of the window. So don’t expect many minutes, as I rate about six people ahead of you in your position, here’s your £90k per week, now go and run around a field for a while”.

        There you go, we can all make things up.

  3. i don’t live in England but what are we waiting for lets start the protest against wenger can’t believe that for a while i had hope so ashamed of my self i never been one to be easily fooled

  4. “The pond at Arsenal is getting bigger with the arrival of Lacazette and the expected advent of Thomas Lemar.”

    You guys don’t give up do you?? I’ve been laughing about this Lemar rumour each i see it. Tell me guys, what is so special about this one season wonder that makes him look like the saviour? I know he’s a good player, but is he the best winger we can get?? There are players we can go for but everyone is making this Lemar look like a football god. Kev and Resource cut the crap and stop feeding us??.
    When i see Lemar in our jersey i’ll come on here and give you credits. But for now i’m not joining your bandwagon. sorry but it’s for the safety of my heart, this way i have nothing to lose if the transfer happens or not

    1. I’m not in favour of this transfer at all as I know we can do better.I know of younger French players who are better than him if we’re talking about potential.However,what is written is written and I can’t change that .I relay information because I don’t want people to be in two minds.I just want them to relax.I’m held accountable on my word until everyone signs.

      1. Fair enough bro

  5. I thought Arsenal is a classy football club and I expect more of them. I didn’t think wenger could do that to any player but when I read the man’s statement I was really disappointed. I still will like him to stay anyway

  6. I spent my two days off watching Monaco matches. just to watch Thomas Lemar and if he’s our savior we can kiss top 10 goodbye Riyad mahrez is ten times but because we are so desperate for new signings we would take any players even if they don’t improve our team an why is the French club selling every one else players but us i thought there was some French connection between wenger on French club

  7. It is obviously a way to tell the player he is not wanted, especially for one who does not want to be a squad player. I think he his a player that we should be holding on to, however, wenger thinks otherwise.

  8. OOO if anyone need to see Seri he is playing against Ajax for Nice in a CLQ

  9. Gooner from London Colney

    @Eddy H, I think that Kev and Resource are one and the same person.

    1. We will sign lemar 2 years to late like lacazette coz that’s how long it takes arsenal football club to realise that they can’t save money then end having to spend more in the end just to get a player they wanted 2 years ago! They did with xhaka they nearly did it with draxler they tried doing it with mustafi then crapped them selves! they only wanted welbeck on loan and they brought Lucas bcoz he was half the price of lacazette! WTF is wrong with these tiny petty minded cretins! small transfers Big wages Small ambition Big stadium Small club mentality Big ticket prices etc

  10. I’m watching the Champion League game between nice and ajax jean Michael Siri is ways better than Thomas Lemar

  11. Yes yes yes!
    Sell the poor chap to depo as soon as possible for as much as possible.
    It’s clear that wenger signed him with false promises and the taking of the shirt number situation is clearly going to happen just so naively managed or not managed at all!
    This is more proof as you see mistakes creep in and us drop the ball here and there that wenger still is involved and micro managing every aspect of the club. Learn to delegate!!

  12. Did I just read be West ham isms disguise!?
    Careful I’d love chicarito at arsenal were maybe sell Wilshire to them who could come good under different circumstances.
    Mocking other clubs that could so easily be passing us in the next season is unwise did you not watch the Chelsea game, a joke!!

    1. Yeh that’s what I’m getting at ronnye lol we could end up replacing West Ham as the new West Ham lol and on the chicorito signing I honestly think he will be better than lacazette at least till lacazette adapts to the prem if he ever does that is

  13. yes he is.. Wenger treated him unfairly by not giving him gametime even though he performed brilliantly whenever he played.
    …and taking his shirt number without telling him first is plain disrespectful.

  14. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter

    Perez got limited game time, yet provided more final product than others chosen ahead of him. No wonder Sanchez got frustrated with Wenger’s selections.
    Perez should be kept and played.
    Bring back David Dein, the man behind Wenger’s earlier success!

  15. of course
    Wenger treated him poorly.
    and is very very unfair for Arsene to give out his squad number without letting him know.that’s a bad treatment.he should go Arsene doesn’t like him.

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