On August 30th, Arsenal finally confirmed the signing of Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez. The 27 year-old has signed for a reported 17.1m from Deportivo. After multiple summers of Arsenal fans begging Arsene Wenger to sign another striker, Wenger has finally given in and brought in the Spaniard.
The signing of Perez gives this Arsenal squad some much needed striker depth. The long term injury to Danny Welbeck made striker a position of priority this summer. With Welbeck’s injury, the only striker option outside of Olivier Giroud was Theo Walcott, who has said he wants to go back to paying on the right wing. As good as Olivier Giroud is, Arsenal needed another striker, both for depth and as different option to Giroud.
Lucas Perez has had a journeyman career up to this point. He has never been with the first team of a club for more than two years. He has made 50 or more appearances in all competitions at three different clubs, but has never made more than 60 appearances in all competitions at a club, according to Soccerway.com. Prior to last season, Lucas Perez was just another footballer.
Then, after being primarily an attacking midfielder for most of his career, last season he moved to striker and broke out. It was the first time Perez had scored double digit league goals in a season, only the second time he’d played over 2000 minutes in a season, and the first time he had played over 2500 minutes in a season. He equaled Bebeto’s record of scoring in seven consecutive league games and led Deportivo to safety, finishing 15th on 42 points.
After playing as an attacking midfielder for much of his career, his switch to striker last season allowed him to flourish and get noticed by top clubs around Europe. This meant he was linked to multiple clubs this summer, including English Champions Leicester City. Near the end of last season there were reports that the English champions were prepared to break their transfer record for the Spaniard. Nothing came of these links, but it’s safe to say Perez’s great season drew lots of attention.
Since the links to Arsenal, people have been comparing Perez to another striker Arsenal were linked to this summer, Jamie Vardy. The comparisons to Vardy were always going to be made because they’re both late bloomers, small and quicker. Their similar playing styles do indicate that Arsene Wenger had a certain type of striker in mind, one very dissimilar to Olivier Giroud. It’s clear that Wenger wants a player that is a foil for Giroud to complement him going into the season.
Arsenal have been in the market for a striker all summer. They were rejected by Jamie Vardy, reportedly could not agree a fee with Lyon for Alexandre Lacazette, but now they’ve got their man in Perez. According to Perez, Arsenal made “some contact” earlier in the summer and have now they have made their interest in the Spaniard known to the world by adding him to their squad in their push for the Premier League title.