Arsenal are all set to sign Deportivo La Coruna star Lucas Perez as they finally get their act together in this summer transfer window.
While Perez looks like being Arsenal’s third choice at best to come in up front after failed moves for Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette, there could be plenty of cause for optimism with this imminent deal.
As already noted, the Spaniard adds an option as a central striker or out wide, but many Arsenal fans are concerned that they haven’t heard a great deal about the player before.
So without further ado, here are five facts on the La Liga star as he looks set to make the move to the Emirates Stadium…
He shares a record with a Brazilian World Cup legend
Having scored in seven consecutive games for Deportivo, Perez shares a club record with the legendary Bebeto, who was one of the club’s stars in the mid-90s and a World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994.
Perez achieved this feat last season after an incredible start to the campaign saw him net 12 times by December, putting him behind only Barcelona duo Neymar and Luis Suarez in the La Liga scoring charts at the time.
It’s certainly more inspiring than Olivier Giroud’s run of 12 games without a goal for Arsenal last season…
His goalscoring stats aren’t exactly amazing…
Still, there is rightly some criticism of Perez’s overall scoring stats – they don’t exactly scream ‘elite striker’ in the Vardy or Lacazette mould.
While 17 goals in total last season for a club like Deportivo might be impressive, he’ll definitely be expected to up his game at a club like Arsenal, and improve on his conversion rate of 19% over the last three seasons (not including penalties), which puts him behind Giroud’s 22%.
Then again, numbers might be as much of a concern when you’ve got this in your locker…
He’s got more than just goals to his game
Capable of playing behind the main striker or out wide, Perez can also add plenty of creativity to Arsenal’s front line, with some impressive chance creation stats.
Sure, the Gunners already have Mesut Ozil for this kind of thing and would much rather have someone to finish off these chances, but every little helps.
According to WhoScored, only three players have created more chances from open play than the Spaniard’s 61 since the start of last season.
He’s from La Coruna
If Arsenal do lure Perez away from Deportivo, they will have done well to convince a boyhood fan to give up on his hometown club.
One of the reasons the Gunners target is so popular at his current side (as well as being a top footballer) is that he’s one of them – a die-hard fan and local lad.
Many modern players are criticised for shallow shows of loyalty through badge-kissing, but when Perez does it he means it, saying ‘I’m kissing my home’.
He’s been a late bloomer
Working his way to his boyhood club has not been an easy, with Perez now 27 years old and only last season finding the best form of his career.
Prior to 2015/16, Perez had only scored 34 times since his first-team breakthrough with Rayo Vallecano in the 2009/10 season, so there’s always the chance that he’s going to end up being a bit of a one-season wonder.
Still, Arsenal were also chasing 29-year-old Vardy earlier this summer, so are seemingly dead set on signing a player in form now, rather than buying players for the future as they’ve done previously.