After just 12 months at the club, last year’s summer signing Lucas Pérez looks to have been shown the exit door at The Emirates. But what more could the Spaniard have done during his brief spell at the Gunners to extend his stay?
Pérez did little wrong last season, with extremely limited playing time to display what he could produce to the Gunners faithful.
However, it seemed clear as long ago as February that Pérez would be seeking new pastures in the summer.
Agent of the Arsenal player, Rodrigo Fernández Lovelle, told Calciomercato that his client didn’t get the opportunities he warranted.
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“He’s had no chance with Wenger, the truth is that Lucas wants to leave at all costs and is not happy at Arsenal, he hasn’t settled and hasn’t had a chance to play and show what he can do.”
The Newcastle United transfer target looks most likely to return to Deportivo La Coruña for a cut price of the £17.1million Arsenal paid last summer.
Perez’s first season at Arsenal
The Spaniard made just one Premier League start in his debut campaign, nevertheless he boasted some impressive statistics.
Pérez scored an emphatic hat-trick in his only start in the Champions League at Basel, yet despite a fantastic night in Switzerland, by Saturday he found himself back in the familiar surroundings of the substitutes bench, as an used sub.
He also struck a smashing volley from the bench in the 3-3 comeback at Bournemouth in the Premier League and scored one in three in Arsenal’s road to FA Cup glory.
Despite this, Wenger failed to show the faith anticipated with the £17.1million investment, regularly leaving the 28-year-old from the match-day squad completely and picking out of form players like Theo Walcott ahead of him.
Statistically, Pérez beats a lot of his competitors across the board, particularly in Europe’s top competition.
In Europe he delivered three goals and two assists in just 136 minutes, meaning he was directly involved in a goal every 27.2 minutes for the North London outfit. It’s a small sample size though.
That extraordinary stat thumps not only every Arsenal player but was the best in the Champions League, stumping the wonderful Lionel Messi’s 73.6 and the competitions top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo on 70.5.
Obviously, the former Deportivo man played a lot fewer minutes and affected the competition less, but it goes to show Arsenal might have achieved more had they presented more confidence in their Spanish arrival.
With just 401 minutes in the Premier League and Champions League last season, his four goals at a rate of a goal every 100.25 minutes is up there with the elite and tops Arsenal’s charts, even surpassing club top-scorer Alexis Sánchez on 144 minutes.
That number embarrassing the players selected before him, with Walcott on a goal every 156.9 minutes, Alex Iwobi scoring every 468.5 minutes and Liverpool transfer target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain every 647 minutes.
Life before Arsenal
Pérez has enjoyed a cultured career to date, plying his trade in four different countries.
After a mediocre start in his home country, playing for Atlético Madrid’s C team and Rayo Vallecano, he headed to Ukraine turning out for Karpaty Lviv, scoring 14 goals in 51 appearances.
He then headed to Greece, signing for PAOK and scoring nine goals in his debut and only season with the club.
It was his return to Spain with Deportivo, where he enjoyed his most prolific period and grasped the attention of Arséne Wenger.
The forward scored 17 goals and provided a further eight assists, effectively single-handedly keeping the ‘Branquiazuis’ from the drop in La Liga.
Evidence suggests from his momentary playing time at Arsenal whoever signs him could recreate that form and reap the rewards at the Gunners loss.