Rumours that Arsenal are on the verge of signing Lucas Perez are now almost common knowledge. However, despite enjoying a wonderful campaign in front of goal last season, not many know that much about the Spanish striker. Here we profile the 27-year-old attacker set to arrive at the Emirates.
Perez’s 2015/16 campaign in La Liga
If you are one of the few Arsenal fans who haven’t Googled him yet, he currently plies his trade in La Liga with Deportivo La Coruna. According to a recent report by the Mirror, Arsenal scouts rated the 27-year-old as not good enough for the Gunners.
Regardless, the Deportivo forward enjoyed a prolific season in a league dominated by Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid. He contributed to 25 goals last term in 36 appearances, scoring 17 and assisting 8 en route to a 13th place finish.
The forward racked up 38 successful take-ons whilst creating 72 chances playing as a main striker in 2015/16. Furthermore, he also earned a 79% pass completion. These are impressive stats for a man who will only cost £17m.
How did he end up at Deportivo?
A late bloomer would be the best way to describe Lucas’ rise to fame, as a once promising youngster faded and risked wasting an exciting career before making his return in his home country. He was first spotted by Atletico Madrid as a 17-year-old, joining Los Rojiblancos to play for their C team.
However, after failing to make it anywhere near the senior squad, he moved on to Rayo Vallecano. He also failed to make his mark there, and was soon off to Karpaty Lviv, followed by fellow Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev.
It was at this point when Perez’s career looked to be on the brink of total collapse, but a transfer to PAOK salvaged everything for the Spaniard. His first season with the Greek club saw him score 10 and assist 15 playing as a winger.
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That is when Deportivo came calling, though initially on a loan deal. By the summer of 2015, Lucas signed a permanent deal with Branquiazuis before going on to finish the season as their top-scorer.
Did you know?
Lucas Perez has made only one appearance in the new 2016/17 season in Spain, but has already contributed to two goals – scoring one and assisting another.
Where will Perez fit in the Arsenal starting eleven?
Here is where we expect Arsenal fans to be left disappointed. Perez is versatile due to his experience playing as both a lone striker and a winger. Unfortunately, versatility usually manifests into being played out of a player’s favored position when it comes to Le Prof, meaning supporters hoping to see Giroud replaced may have to wait.
Perez would definitely deputize for Giroud when needed – in times of injury and lack of form. Nonetheless, the Spaniard will likely play alongside the Frenchman if signed. This means an attacking three of Lucas, Olivier, and Alexis – sorry, Walcott – will most probably be Wenger’s go-to lineup.
Although OPTA stats show that the Deportivo ace was better than Giroud and even Griezmann last season, at 5ft 11in, he does not possess the kind of aerial threat that Arsenal’s French forward brings to the squad.
Lucas Perez is an exciting prospect that could easily excite the fans if signed. All that is left is for Wenger to wrap it up and confirm the deal.