Sunday 19 January 2020

Arsenal hijack Everton's bid for striker Lucas Perez Martinez of Deportivo

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

Matt Law

Arsenal have hijacked Everton’s move to sign Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez Martinez after Gunners officials travelled to Spain to complete a deal.

Everton had agreed a £17million fee and personal terms with the man commonly known as Lucas, but Arsenal came in at the last minute to steal the 27-year-old away.

Arsenal were on Thursday completing the formalities of the transfer in Spain with no hitches expected.

The failure to sign Lucas is a major blow to Everton and director of football Steve Walsh, who could have wrapped up the transfer earlier this month only to delay negotiations until this week.

Lucas had been on the radar of Walsh for some time and had been a target for Leicester City before the transfer guru’s departure.

Intriguingly, Lucas has been compared to Jamie Vardy who Arsenal tried to sign from Leicester at the start of the transfer window.

The Spaniard scored 17 La Liga goals for Deportivo last season and netted the winner in the Spanish club’s 2-1 victory over Elbar last Friday night.

It is understood last weekend’s goalless draw with Leicester convinced Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that he had to sign a forward before the transfer window shuts next week.

And having failed in bids for Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette, the capture of Lucas brings to an end a long a frustrating search for more firepower.

Everton will now have to look elsewhere for a striker to play alongside and deputise for Romelu Lukaku, who has pledged to stay at Goodison Park this month.

The Toffees started the first two games of the season without an out-and-out recognised striker, although Lukaku made his comeback from injury as a substitute in the victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Oumar Niasse, who was signed for £13.5million from Lokomotiv Moscow in January, has not been given a squad number for the season, having played just 152 minutes of football and failing to score for the club.

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