The curious (and sad) case of Lucas Perez

It’s the curious case of Lucas Perez that I want to talk about today, because it’s an unusual one from an Arsenal perspective, particularly when it comes to Wenger.

What’s jogged me into focusing on our wantaway Spaniard is the supposed comments he’s made to the club about being unhappy and wanting to go back to Spain after one season. The straw that has broken the camels back? His demotion in terms of player number, with Lacazette being given the number nine jersey, previously worn by Lucas.

Apparently it’s the manner of being told how he was losing his number, which was when he found out after Lacazette had been signed and if true (again, still speculation without any direct quotes), then it’s a pretty poor show from a manager who you usually expect to always think about all of his players all of the time. 

That’s kind of Arsène’s thing. Even though Debuchy has long been out of the team and nowhere near the first XI, even when he went public about being unhappy that he’s not playing, Arsène has still always had positive things to say. I think the only player who has had a proper dig at Arsène in his time at the club was Lassana Diarra when he left. That’s certainly the only one I can remember. All these years and so few examples of players having a dig (again, happy to be proved wrong but it’s just my memory recall at the moment) suggests to me that looking after his players and getting ‘the love’ from them is what Arsène has always been good at.

But should Lucas leave this transfer window – and you’d have to say it’s more than likely – I think he’ll be well within his rights to have a pop.

Let’s not forget this was a guy who had come off the back of a great season with Deportivo. A guy who was taking a punt by moving to England to see if he could step up. A guy who was at his prime. A guy who we pipped Everton to the post for. And a guy who we paid £17million for. That’s not a small chunk of change. That’s more than Arshavin, Reyes, Giroud, Podolski, Santi, Arteta, and even Welbeck. Yet he’s barely had a look in all season. 

Then, when the summer comes around, he’s left at home with the other outcasts; a footballing leper who seems to have no future whatsoever.

And I have no idea why. 

I get that his chances are probably limited now that we’ve bought Lacazette, but personally I’d rather see him given the chance and see players like Theo being shown the door because as much as Theo’s numbers suggest an effective player, I think Lucas’ show a more effective striker. 

Lucas got seven goals from his limited playing time last season. He showed that even when he was used sporadically, he could make an instant impact. He tee’d up Giroud for the late winner against Preston. He scored a very well taken volley in the 3-3 against Bournemouth, he got his hat trick against Nottingham Forest and he notched goals against Ludogorets in the Champions League. 

He made just eight starts last season. 

Imagine what he could have potentially achieved if he’d have been afforded the same trust as Theo Walcott? Could we be seeing a guy who also got close to 20 goals this season? Could he be an upgrade on the position that Walcott occupies? I think so. He works harder off the ball than Theo. He’s better with the ball at his feet than Theo is. He seems to link up with some players – like Giroud – better than Theo does. 

Wenger spoke about Lucas’ hunger as a player early in lat season. He talked about how a player like Lucas has had to work hard from where he has been to be in the position he’s in now. Yet despite demonstrating that and also demonstrating that he can do it on the pitch, he’s never been trusted, whilst others have seemingly had chance after chance to prove themselves.

It might sound like I’m picking on Walcott a bit here, which is perhaps a bit harsh, but Walcott is often cited as the ‘comfortable’ player at Arsenal. Happy with his lot and happy to collect his pay cheque. Some are suggesting now that Elneny is like that having heard that he doesn’t want to go to Leicester and is happy as a squad player. We hear about the culture of comfort at Arsenal and yet one guy at the club is about to jack it in and go somewhere else to get playing time. Because he’s hungry to play. 

Why are we letting somebody like that go, when others should be in line ahead of him to be shipped out?

I have no idea. I don’t think I’ll ever know. But what I do know is that if/when Lucas’ time at Arsenal ends, it’ll be Arsenal that have missed a trick, by not effectively utilisng his services during his tenure at the club.

Catch you tomorrow.

About the Author:

Gooner born in 1982 from Harlow, Essex, with a love for Arsenal that knows. I’m not an AKb, nor am I an ‘In Arsene we Rust’, but I like to think that I can tip-toe between the two, occasionally veering into both camps.

6 Comments

  1. crispen 25th July 2017 at 9:04 am - Reply

    completely agreed. Arsene gave this guy a very raw deal, unless there is something that we all do not know. Maybe the tiff with Gabriel is a hint of what happens behind the scenes.

    • Bendtnersbettercousin 25th July 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Good point. We don’t know what’s happened. His history with other clubs suggests not tho. Seems like a decent pro.

  2. FunGunner 25th July 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Sorry, can’t agree. As you say, the vast majority of players who have left have nothing bad to say about us or the manager. AW protects his players and never has a bad word to say about them, either.. So my money would be on the issue being with Lucas himself.
    He was fantastic against the weaker teams in the League Cup and like many, I was excited. But he disappointed in the two or three matches against tougher opposition. And also, who was it that he should have displaced in the starting lineup? That’s the hard question.
    Let’s not forget, either, that he has been trying to leave since January, so he can’t claim that this insult is what has caused him to want out.
    He was as good as gone by the time Lacazette arrived, so I’m pretty surprised that he was upset about it. My first thought when I read about this was, “What, Lucas is still an Arsenal player?”

    • Bendtnersbettercousin 25th July 2017 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      I think he just hasn’t been given a good enough opportunity. Two or three games to make a mark is nothing, certainly not a big enough sample size to make an effective judgement on his impact, don’t you think?

  3. FunGunner 25th July 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

    He’s probably got at least two, if not three years on his contract, so where are the clubs offering decent fees for him? Even Deportivo who presumably have seen the best of him, I now see are only offering 10m euros.
    Basically, he’s just not quite good enough for AW to give him chances ahead of our other strikers. He was bought as backup. If he’s not happy with that and wants to move, that’s his prerogative, but it’s a bit rich to complain he was cheated.

  4. PeterD 25th July 2017 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    From the action Perez has had then I defy anyone to say he’s done anything other than “well”. For me, we should pay someone to take Walcott away and keep Perez. In fact there’s plenty of games where Welbeck and/or Walcott have been poor and neither of those are being treated as badly as Perez. I’ve not seen Perez play badly in any game he’s appeared in.
    I too am completely puzzled as to what is wrong here.

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