Lucas Perez has impressed every time he’s been on the pitch for Arsenal this season, and while non-league opposition may not have been the sternest test the Spaniard is likely to face in his Gunners career, he proved vital to guiding his side through to the quarter-finals.
The 28-year-old spoke to manager Arsene Wenger about his lack of playing time earlier on in the campaign but has not seen an improvement in the number of opportunities he has been rewarded with. He has now made 18 appearances for Arsenal and has been directly involved in nine goals in his last eight starts for the club in all competitions (six goals, three assists).
Perez’s agent was forced to come out and deny comments attributed to him by an Italian news outlet earlier in the day that suggested his client would be interested in joining AC Milan. His agent did, however, confirm to Goal that the player is unhappy with his lack of playing time, confirming our understanding that the former Deportivo man is prepared to leave at the end of the season.
The £17.5 million signing started at Gander Green Lane and scored the opening goal after a driving run. It typified the player, who has become renowned for his ability to power into the final third to create as well as score. His selection in the team wasn’t guaranteed either, due to a minor hamstring injury, which meant he didn’t travel to Bayern Munich for the 5-1 Champions League defeat last Wednesday.
It was a curious decision as to why Wenger has resisted giving Perez playing time ahead of the unproductive Alex Iwobi, who has a mere three goals and three assists in 21 appearances. While the Nigerian is able to link up play well and create chances, albeit on an inconsistent basis, it is Perez who continues to produce in every game he’s been involved in. Six out of his seven goals have been in cup competitions, but it’s worth noting that he was dropped after scoring a hat-trick away to Basel in the Champions League - a decision that frustrated the exciting forward.
Perez continues to score goals whatever the competition, and it’s surely a matter of time before he features regularly in the Premier League - otherwise, it’s almost certain that he will look for regular playing time elsewhere this summer.