Possible Destinations for Arsenal’s Lucas Perez

Lucas Perez’s transfer to Arsenal at the end of last summer’s transfer window is one that duped everyone. Arriving on a £17 million fee from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruña, Perez was everything Arsène Wenger wanted: an agile forward to finish off the work of his midfielders for a relatively low fee. Fast forward 10 months and, with opportunities seemingly hard to come by, he could well leave the club in the summer, having only made 21 appearances so far this season.

His agent claims that his focus is on the present and that therefore there is no discussion of a move as yet, but earlier this year he alleged that his client asked him to find a new club to boost his chances of featuring for Spain in next year’s World Cup in Russia. Following his decent 17-goal season with Deportivo in 2015-16, Perez is certainly in the picture for the Spain squad. Now on the fringes in North London, he may have to start looking for pastures new.

Potential Suitors

Milan

Now under new ownership with Chinese investor Li Yonghong completing a long, drawn-out procedure of taking control of the club, there is a large list of players with whom Milan have been linked in recent weeks. Should Carlos Bacca leave the club, manager Vincenzo Montella would not have a recognised forward in his squad. Perez will be a relatively cheap option and with almost no chance of Champions League football for the Italian giants next season, he may be part of a select few who could realistically join the Rossoneri as they look to get back to the top.

With the new funding at the club, however, it seems unlikely that Milan would want to go for a striker who has only had one very good season in either one of Europe’s top leagues. Instead, they would want someone more proven in front of goal with a greater track record. Large sums of money are available, so they might be able to tempt some of Europe’s finest even without Champions League football. Big names like Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema have been linked in recent weeks, and Perez is yet to prove that he is at the same level.

Everton

By staying in the country, Perez will have a chance of proving himself in England as Everton are likely to provide more first team minutes to him. Take Morgan Schneiderlin’s example following his move from Manchester United.

Also, Romelu Lukaku is currently denying a new deal at the club, with Champions League football being his main requirement. Should he leave and Perez replace him, the Spaniard will get much more first-team football. In addition to that, Arsenal would be able to sell for a similar fee they paid for him as Everton’s ambition in the transfer market has risen under Farhad Moshiri.

Perez’s lack of activity in England, however, may not be enough to convince Everton to make a deal. He has yet to prove that he is able to make the impact Lukaku has in attack and could force Everton to look elsewhere for a deal.

At the age of 28, he brings a certain amount of experience at the club, but for how long would it last? Everton have been bringing in some fantastic, young talent into the first team with the likes of Tom Davies, Mason Holgate and Ademola Lookman getting opportunities, and Ronald Koeman will surely want to continue that into his attack.

Paris Saint-Germain

Glitz, glamour and another opportunity at Champions League football, this would be similar to his move to Arsenal, except that he would adapt better to Ligue 1. Paris Saint-Germain have shown interest in him in recent weeks and this could be a good move for him, considering the French league is dominated by the Parisians and rivals Monaco and they have a plethora of attacking options.

Once again, similar to Arsenal, he would struggle to guarantee himself a spot in the first-team. He could easily be overshadowed by Edinson Cavani—the top goal scorer in amongst Europe’s top five leagues—and he would have to settle for a secondary role again. In addition to that, there is an uncertainty at the helm of the club with rumours of a managerial change being imminent following the club’s struggles to retain the Ligue 1 title and their collapse in the Champions League. A move could be off the cards if Unai Emery is indeed replaced.

Deportivo La Coruña

A return home seems like the best option for him as he looks to break into the Spanish side in the build-up to next summer’s World Cup. He can look to fellow Spanish forward Iago Aspas for inspiration. The former Liverpool man has settled well and made a return to the national team via Celta Vigo.

Perez is proven in Spain and would be a star in a poor Deportivo side that continuously fights with relegation season after season. La Liga is also less physical than the Premier League and he would definitely have a greater impact there.

The trouble is that this would surely be a backwards move for Perez. From playing Champions League football with Arsenal to fighting relegation battles with Deportivo once again would be a huge drop in his ageing career. Sure, it would be a chance to revitalise his career, but it doesn’t seem like what he would want at this stage.

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