Arsene Wenger may have appeased the Gunners faithful by splashing the cash late in the transfer window, but we take a look at whether Arsenal’s latest forward will be able to cut it in the Premier League.
You’re only as good as your last game, so the old adage goes, and if that runs true then Wenger has picked up an absolute steal for £17.1 million, as Perez bagged a goal and an assist in his last game for Deportivo.
He was the driving force behind the Blues and Whites mid-table finish last season when many were expecting them to struggle. The 27-year-old enjoyed a stellar campaign.
With 17 goals and 10 assists in 36 league games for a side that finished 15th in La Liga, he was just two goals shy of Gareth Bale’s tally and scored four more than Manchester City new boy Nolito.
More importantly, it is his tactical awareness, versatility, mobility and general work ethic that impressed Wenger more than his goalscoring prowess.
The long-term absence of Danny Welbeck and failed experiments with Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez in the central striking role have forced the veteran coach into action, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla likely thrilled with the new addition.
His pace and high work-rate is similar to that of Wenger’s summer target Jamie Vardy. Unlike target man Olivier Giroud, Perez tends to play off the last man, run in behind defenders and press high on loose balls.
German international defender Shkodran Mustafi, who joined the Gunners just after Perez, played against the forward in La Liga last season and had this warning for Premier League defenders.
“He is uncomfortable to play against,” the 24-year-old centre back told the club’s website. “He’s a good striker – he has everything a striker needs. He’s someone you can play well with.
“He doesn’t just run around and wait for someone to give him a pass to score a goal. He works a lot for the team as well and he creates chances.
“He’s in the right place at the right time, as he showed last year in La Liga. I played there for two years and I know it’s not that easy to score many goals in La Liga because you have great defenders there. I think he’s going to help the team a lot.”
That said, prior to his impressive campaign last season, Perez’s highest scoring season was the 2013/14 campaign in the Greek Super League for PAOK FC when he hit nine goals in 32 games.
Wenger and Arsenal will be hoping that Perez can reproduce last season’s form and be as successful as Vardy this term at the Emirates.
We asked the question ‘Is Lucas Perez good enough for Arsenal?’ and the overwhelming response was ‘yes!’…