When Lucas Pérez joined Arsenal before the close of the summer 2016 transfer window, supporters were optimistic that the club had found a solid, change-of-style alternative to Olivier Giroud. Pérez was coming off a career-best 18 goal season in La Liga, and the Gunners lacked for depth at striker. Fast forward two years, and, well, we all know that didn’t pan out.
The Spanish forward has reportedly been sold across London to West Ham. According to his agent as reported by ESPN FC, West Ham is a natural destination because he wants regular playing time and would like to remain in London. While the fee is not definitively known, reports have it as low as £5m, significantly less than the £17m Arsenal shelled out to acquire him.
Pérez managed 7 goals in 21 appearances for Arsenal and spent the entire 2017 season on loan to Deportivo la Coruña (from whom the Gunners had purchased him the year before). A combination of injuries, lack of playing time, and a reported unhappiness in London / at Arsenal kept the Spaniard from ever really getting going at the Emirates.
There was talk that under Unai Emery, Pérez might have another shot at making his mark. Realistically, he wasn’t ever going to be better than 3rd choice behind Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. For a 29-year-old with a only few good years to possibly earn one more decently-sized contract, sitting on the bench is not the place to be. The sale also clears his £80,000 a week wages, which was a lot of money to be paying for a player so far down the depth chart.
And so ends the Lucas Pérez era at Arsenal. Most of us didn’t even know it was happening. In all seriousness, best of luck to him. I hope he finds the playing time and form that he is looking for, just not against Arsenal.
UPDATE 12:50 PM: Reports have the fee at £3m + £1m in bonuses that are “unlikely to be hit”