Lucas Perez is expected to stay with Arsenal after his agency confirmed he will be reporting for pre-season training. Despite considerable speculation surrounding his future, including rumours of a move to Lazio, the forgotten Arsenal striker will now have a chance to impress new boss Unai Emery.
Perez looked like a promising forward when he joined Arsenal in 2016, however, he opted to spend last season out on loan at his Spanish home club Deportivo; a decision made after Arsene Wenger left him to rot on the bench. During his loan spell, he scored just nine goals in 37 appearances across all competitions, and suffered relegation from the league. Certainly not the best of seasons, but Emery perhaps believes he is worthy of a second chance.
Lucas Perez yet to have a meeting with Unai Emery about his Arsenal future. The striker has been told to report for pre-season with the rest of the first team as normal. pic.twitter.com/kMlpQuqS0g— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) June 21, 2018
“Lucas, on [July] 2, begins pre-season with Arsenal,” the agency said.
When asked about the potential of leaving Arsenal, Protio Sport issued the following statement:
“There is interest from some teams, but he is a player of Arsenal and his desire is to succeed there.”
While this doesn’t 100% confirm he will remain in North London, it does strongly suggest Emery is willing to work him into his system, despite not yet holding face-to-face talks. With transfer rumours surrounding Perez dying down, it seems likely Perez will see out his Arsenal contract until it expires in 2020.
A starting berth will be hard to come by, however, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette the clear options to lead the front line. Meanwhile, out wide, Arsenal can count on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Danny Welbeck, and Alex Iwobi - all of whom are capable of playing across the front line. Also, depending on Emery’s setup, Özil could be an option on the flank.
As reported for The Short Fuse earlier this month, Perez would provide some handy attacking depth. He immediately made an impact after joining in 2016 and banged in some important goals, including a hat-trick against FC Basel in the Champions League, which shows a shrewd goal-scoring ability. But, for reasons unknown, Wenger simply didn’t rate him. There’s little to be concerned about his loan spell back at Deportivo. He can thrive when surrounded by quality Arsenal players, and while he clearly won’t be a Premier League starter, he would provide the club with some quality in European games.