Lucas Perez has quickly gone from being linked with Arsenal to being on the verge of signing for the club. The 27-year old, who scored 17 goals in 37 games last season for Deportivo La Coruna, had been linked with a move to Everton, but with Ronald Koeman’s side having done the groundwork for the transfer, it appears Arsenal have gazumped the Merseysiders close to the last minute, which is lovely Big Dog behaviour from Arsenal.
Everton had done all the groundwork on Lucas Perez Martinez & sorted deal with Deportivo - but Arsenal came in with late interest.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) August 25, 2016
And according to Matt Law and others, Arsenal are completing the deal for £17m. While David Ornstein doesn’t go that far, he does confirm the interest, and Ornstein’s reports are usually a step or two behind real time.
Arsenal interested in signing Deportivo La Coruna CF Lucas Perez. Not done deal but #AFC in contention - 27yo, 17 gls in 37 apps last season— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) August 25, 2016
Perez isn’t the madness signing, or the super quality striker Arsenal fans have been holding out for, but he’s a solid player and will cost £14.5m; chump change for a club of Arsenal’s size. Last season, Lucas scored in seven straight league games, including goals against Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona. And while playing Alexis as a centre forward could still work with all the right pieces, signing Perez allows Arsenal to play a quick, technical centre forward without all of the right pieces, who are so often missing for various reasons.
Sid Lowe’s Guardian profile of Lucas Perez has been doing the rounds since he was linked with Arsenal, and it makes for promising reading; there is the hunger and desire that Arsène Wenger likes in strikers, that one often associates with Luis Suarez, Alexis and Diego Costa:
On the pitch, he is always moving. It looks like it means everything to him. Quick, determined, chasing everything, there’s a kind of desperation about the way he plays, a need to win. Yet that does not bring the nastiness sometimes associated with such desire. Instead, it’s as if he is making up for lost time. Which may be exactly what he is doing.
Lucas Perez is not the big name signing, but he is a creative solution in a maddening market, and will make Arsenal better than they are today. For £14.5m, that’s not a bad transfer.
Update - 9am CST
Arsenal’s €20m bid for Lucas Perez has been rejected by Deportivo according to @SERDeportivos. Arsenal want to pay in two instalments.— Andrew Gaffney (@GaffneyVLC) August 25, 2016
There is no need to panic after reading this as it’s a fairly regular procedure to want to pay a buyout clause in installments. As Gaffney goes on to state, buyout clauses are not the same as release clauses so it’s not as simple as dropping the money in Deportivo’s lap as one lump sum. The thing that Arsenal fans should be encouraged by is that contact between the clubs and played does seem to be genuine so a move is not out of the realm of possibility.
Stay tuned for more.