Lucas Pérez came to Arsenal with high expectations. His £17 Million transfer from Deportivo saw him immediately take up the converted number 9 shirt and all seemed promising.
In fact, in the early stages of his career, he found life at Arsenal above and beyond his expectations but it was to be short-lived.
Despite showing glimpses of his undoubted talent, opportunities went from scarce to zero and it all ended on an acrimonious note when Alexandre Lacazette arrived and took up residence in his shirt number.
This was to be the last straw and more evidence of Wenger, buying a player that he can’t find a use for or doesn’t trust. How ironic that Lacazette now finds himself in a similar position with the purchase of Emerick-Pierre Aubamayang.
Arsene Wenger now faces the problem of either finding a way to play both together or playing them individually with Pérez becoming yesterday’s man in the process.
He was farmed out to Deportivo on loan after being openly critical of the Arsenal boss and sadly things have gone from bad to worse for the striker, with a massive dip in form and a poor return in terms of goals, which has seen him net just five times all season.
Even though his opportunities were as rare as heartwarming story on a news programme, he managed to notch up seven goals for Arsenal in 21 appearances and during that time he played well on a number of occasions, revealing an assured touch and genuine class.
I have previously blogged about Lukas Podolski, another player whom Wenger acquired, only to discover that he couldn’t find a regular starting place in the side and it appears a theme seems to be developing. One where players are drafted in, without conviction and end up in the bargain bucket or are fortunate to find their way to the substitutes bench.
My big concern is that the money could have been better spent on Arsenal’s rickety defence and although I have a great deal of sympathy with, Pérez, Podolski and Lacazette, I question Wenger’s woeful waste in the transfer market.
It’s true that he has imported a great many players that have established themselves as World class but he has also been responsible for a number of truly awful purchases and that list is somewhat longer than the one which includes Overmars, Pires, Viera and Henry.
Gervinho, Reyes, Jeffers, Sanogo, Diaby and Junichi Inamoto, are names that came and went without reaching the dizzy heights of the ‘A’ listers and were unable incapable of establishing themselves in the side.
If one were to be completely objective, it’s no coincidence that Arsenal’s decline has coincided with a series of limp, lame and lackluster purchases and that could be particularly true of Wenger’s attempts to fashion a watertight defence. His only true success in this area came with the invincible’s in 2003/2004 with the likes of Lauren, Campbell, Toure and Cole locking out the opposition.
Since then, Wenger has failed to find the right pieces to a jigsaw that appears to have no picture reference. Pérez remains a quality player, perhaps low on confidence, certainly underappreciated and in need of an arm around the shoulder and a comforting word.
What a pity Wenger couldn’t find a way to get the best out of him.
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