Thursday 26 April 2018

Why Lucas Perez is actually the solution to Arsenal's attacking problems

Arsenal have agreed a deal with Lucas Perez Martinez
Arsenal have agreed a deal with Lucas Perez Martinez

Sean Gibson

Deportivo striker Lucas Perez has become one of the clearer blips on Arsenal's transfer radar with less than a week until the summer window closes.

The parsimonious Gunners are looking increasingly desperate amid a defensive injury crisis, having been denied in pursuit of the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Alexandre Lacazette in recent months.

Though the likely signing of centre-back Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia could shore things up at the rear, Arsenal have targeted Perez in an effort to preempt their perennial mid-season goalscoring drought.

Although manager Arsene Wenger has elbowed past Everton to get to Perez, questions remain as to whether the forward could really be the signing to give Arsenal an edge in the Premier League title race.

Although his record of modest success in Ukraine with Karpaty Lviv and in Greece with PAOK Salonika earned him a move to his hometown La Liga outfit, the Deportivo man appears to have truly hit his stride only last season, at the age of 26.

As Depor slogged their way to 15th in the Primera division, drawing nearly half their games and winning only eight - the joint-lowest in the league - Perez shone.

Considering his team's limitations, the statistics paint Perez as a beacon of efficiency upfield - and his record compares favourably with that of any of his future teammates at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal stuttered on their run at the 2015-16 Premier League title, with none of the oft-injured Gunners forwards able to muster a record as good as Perez's.

The Spaniard's tally of 17 league goals trumps that of both Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, who could muster only 16 and 13 respectively.

Giroud did score slightly more frequently than Perez, but his conversion of shots into goals was almost five percentage points worse.

If the Perez had Mesut Ozil feeding him crosses and through balls, rather than whichever plodders line up in the Depor midfield each week, one would expect a proportionate leap in the player's productivity.

He may not be the most fashionable signing, nor the most expensive at £17million, but could Lucas Perez be the man to finally change Arsenal from a team that tries to walk it into the net to a team that simply rains goals? He has the potential to become Wenger's shrewdest buy in years.

Online Editors

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