When Lucas Perez was signed from Deportivo La Coruna for £17.1 million, many Arsenal fans were ecstatic. He was seen as a striker who could bring some versatility to the Arsenal attack.
The Spaniard’s pace and dribbling skills were so lauded that many compared him to Antoine Griezmann. He made his Arsenal debut as part of the starting line-up in the game against Southampton which ultimately became one of only two starts in 11 appearances in the top flight.
Perez was frozen out of first team action rather quickly. On the few occasions he was called upon, he was excellent. Considering that he scored seven goals and provided five assists in the limited game time he was offered, one can only argue that the striker was not fairly treated.
Though there was an injury layoff that disrupted a little part of his season, he was always kept on the bench while Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud played regularly. He was hardly called forth.
According to the striker, a Chinese club made an offer for him around February, but the manager convinced him to stay, promising that he will get more chances to play in the second part of the season.
Things, however, never improved for the forward. There was more disappointment when Danny Welbeck returned from his long-term injury and broke into the first team ahead of Perez. He endured the humiliation and kept his cool until the end of the season. We all knew that he would love to move on and it was not a surprise at all when he made his intentions public.
Some offers, albeit miserly ones, filtered in. However, his future was not yet clear when Arsenal landed a new striker in Alexandre Lacazette. The worst treatment towards Perez was meted immediately after the deal.
While he remained an Arsenal player, his Jersey number was given to the new signing. As the striker has confirmed that he was not consulted before the decision was made, one can wonder why the management can treat a humble player like Lucas Perez with such great disrespect. Whoever made the decision needs to apologise personally to the player and publicly.
Arsenal owe Perez and the best we can do is to facilitate his move to any club of his choice even if it means losing financially in the deal. For the concerned fans, I apologise to Lucas Perez and wish him better luck in his career.