Top Five La Liga Player for Key Passes and Crosses: Bring Him Back to Arsenal

Despite playing for a team that got relegated in La Liga last season, according to Whoscored this player finished fourth in producing key passes per game: 2.3 on average. That is just 0.1 per game less than the giants Messi and Kroos (second and third), and 0.4 less than the impressive Jonathan Viera of Las Palmas. It is also 0.6 better than Luis Suarez’s 1.7 key passes  on average per game.

Furthermore, this 29 year old Spaniard finished fifth in producing crosses per game in La Liga: 1.5 on average. Despite his team’s relegation, he managed to score eight goals and produce six assists in 35 league games for Deportivo La  Coruna (together with Juanfran he played most games for his team last season). In his final ten games he scored four goals and produced three assists and that shows us that he gave everything to avoid relegation for his team.

This player is on Arsenal’s books, and I think by now you know who I am talking about: Lucas Perez, of course.

Perez's highlight with the Gunners was a hat-trick against Basel

I really liked Perez at Arsenal and was surprised and a bit saddened to see him loaned out to Deportivo during last summer. We could have done with him, especially in the UEFA league games, and I am not sure what happened between him and Wenger that made the Frenchman loan out such an effective, hard-working (with and without the ball) team player leave again. To be fair, he did not have a fabulous 16-17 season, with only 11 appearances (many as a sub), one goal and no assists; but he did produce an impressive 2.6 chances and 2.4 dribbles per 90 minutes of football.

I reckon we have missed such a player during the last campaign, and as he plays predominantly on the right – where I expect Ozil to play again next season – he could be excellent back up for the German whilst also making many starts in the cup competitions. Lucas has the character, passion and quality to push the other attackers hard and it looks like that’s what Emery is all about. Obviously, he also costs nothing which allows Emery to spend his budget on other areas of the team. For me it is a no-brainer to bring Lucas back to the Home of Football.

By TotalArsenal.

34 thoughts on “Top Five La Liga Player for Key Passes and Crosses: Bring Him Back to Arsenal

  • Nice one TA, it might all depend on how Unai can balance his 25 man squad and the restrictions involved, home grown etc. But yeah, bring him back into the squad, he’s versatile and he scores goals, as you say a no brainer.

  • How does the Home Grown Player (HGP) rule work?

    At present, Premier League clubs are allowed a maximum of 25 players in their first-team squad.
    If teams want to take full advantage of that maximum player allowance, eight of them must be homegrown.
    ‘Home Grown’ simply means that a player must have been on the books of a club affiliated with the Football Association for at least three years before they turn 21 – it does not mean that they have to be English.
    Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas, for example, having come up through Arsenal’s academy, is classed as a homegrown player despite being a Spain international.
    Another important caveat is that teams can use as many under-21 players as they like in addition to their main squad, regardless of nationality.
    Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal.

    But some teams don’t have eight homegrown players…

    Correct, but the rules state that teams don’t have to fill their 25-man squad.
    If, for example, a club have only six homegrown players, they will not be penalised as long as they keep their squad size at 23 players or under.
    In essence, Premier League teams are not allowed any more than 17 non-homegrown players in their squad.
    Again though, this only applies to players over the age of 21.
    A good example of this is Raheem Sterling, who did not count as a homegrown player for Manchester City when he arrived at the Etihad in 2015 as he was still 20 years old. Now, however, he does count as part of City’s homegrown quota.

    (Taken from

  • TA, nobody knows mate, it’s so comforting having all these smart politicians on the job, looking after our futures with not a single thought to their own enrichment.
    Doesn’t it make you feel secure…. 😐

  • Oh dear Kev!

    Clearly you need to either drink a lot less…. or a lot more…

    Tongue firmly in cheek — jgc

  • TA

    I figure this is all Unai’s to,sort. He could be great and up to it or not. He was there so little… That said, half scots so you had me at free…. 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  • Of course it is, Prof, but if we just wait for that what are we going to write about? To me it looks like Emery is adding experience as back up and more to the squad. Links with Lichtsteiner and Sokratis tell us this. And it would make sense to bring back a man who can produce key passes like he does….

  • Kev, TA–
    Regarding Perez (and Fellaini for that matter) here, today and yesterday? Along with Sokratis and Lichtsteiner– all as potential signings– I wrote this elsewhere on Monday:

    ‘The backroom team needs another year to scope and buy.
    This season is about becoming steady. building with easily replaceable depth next Summer. Cheap, experienced, expendable depth.’

    I’m still of the mind that ‘the project’ was (is) to be started in earnest as late as next January’s TW or next Summer 2019’s TW. If one were to think in those terms? Of the players who will become available contractually/financially at those points? And I’ll ‘bet my bottom theory’ that we begin to see the true targets that SIR(E) have had their eyes on since last Summer 2017.

    Regardless of whom was the next Newman– Sven had his eye on the talent, Raul the contacts, Famhy the contracts– in an 18-to-24 month acquisition timeline.

    The forcing-out of AW has landed us where we are presently. Filling holes and building depth– as I’d said above: ‘Cheap, experienced, expendable depth.’ For another season.

    So– it is with that Kev– where I’d have no qualms if SIRE overpay Fellaini (on a free) for a one-year deal (appreciate the Moneyball hat-tip, really I do!). And TA– I too, very much like the skills that Perez can bring to share with our current set of attackers. Lucas slips right in like silk sheets (though I fear for Danny it could spell the end of his Arsenal stay).

    We’ll have 2-3 years with this set of savvy and talented attackers, Perez included. So it’s imperative we fast-forward rebuilding the rear-guard ASAP.


  • Danny Welbeck

    Played 28 (many as a sub): 5 goals 2 assists 0.5 key passes and no crosses per game. Indeed, DW could/should? leave.

  • JW, it does make sense to go for dispensable experience. I would image though that Fellaini would not sign a one year contract. He will be looking to secure a three to four year contract. It looks like he is being used to put pressure on our nr.1 target negotiations…

  • TA–
    In most cases that’s etched in stone.
    Could be, if MF wishes to continue in the PL with a top-6 club– he may be limited to what he can get from us. A borderline player on a big club, on the verge of becoming the next-in-line big lug in England (Newcastle needs goals!). So– Arsenal overpay for one year– goes to China next year (maybe two) to cash in– return next year, serviceable for a smaller PL club. Or take less on a 3-year Serie A deal? An alternative line of thought.


  • Yes T, now you sound like me. Get rid of welbeck. Bring back Lucas Perez. What Arsene did to Lucas really bothered me.

    Now you just need to get on the Iwobi out train. Give it time….

  • Hi all.. Nice post TA..
    I love to see Lucas Perez back in our squad also.. With his speed, he will give so much interesting attacking football..

    So, the TW has begin.. A RB was always something we afraid of last season.. Bellerin fitness after was a very big issue.. after Debuchy injured and sold.. The arrrive of an experience RB will keep us more confidence..
    And if Socratis also coming.. soon.. our back four Will be very promising..
    This remind me for what Pep did last season.. strength their back.. but Emery did it with simply Arsenal way.. hehehe..
    All we need to do is a GK.. than our TW will be done..

    We have already very strong midfielders.. I agree that with Ramsey, Elneny, Xhaka, Niles, Ozil, Iwobi, JRA and Willock.. will be great enough.. although someone like Nzozi or Ducoure Will be great..

    Ini front we had a very great and hungry Strikers.. and with Perez back.. it Will be enough.. Nelson and Nketiah also need some playing time.. hehehe..

  • T A I am with you on this one. I Really liked Perez, but looking around the net, not everyone agrees. I was under the impression he and Wenger must have fallen out.

    You recently raised the subject of Cesc coming back to the Emirates which I would love personally, although I know not everyone would agree. On that subject there is a brilliant series on You tube called Jack Whitehall Training days. There is an episode involving Cesc and Morata which is very funny (Whitehall is a Gooner) where the subject is raised. Hector also plays a part. Well worth a look. Also worth looking at the Mourinho episode… he still does have a sense of humour

  • It’s official. Stephan Lichtsteiner is our player. Welcome to Emery’s Arsenal, Stephan!
    He is not young, and a little older than me, since we are both born in the same year, but he can add another dimension in the defensive department. And maybe some steel that we so desperately need?

    Back to Lucas. He deserves to be back at the top of the pile, among Ozil, Auba and Laca. Get him into the first team, and put Iwobi back at the fringe players group. However, as TA said in the seasons prior, “What the hell do we know?”, and “Wenger (Emery this time) knows best”.

  • JK and TA et al,

    Re Welbeck vs Perez. I will agree DW hasnt had an impact. I am not sure about comparing La Liga to PL in terms of key passes etc. Better than extrapolating Perez’s limited PL time, but…

    The issue is that La Liga in a bottom team being regularly beaten by 2ish goals means teams will give up some things in riding out the game. Is it real or “garbage time” stats. Equally, extrapolating his limited PL time in “lesser games or cups” may not be accurate either. That said, DW hasnt shown much step forward we all thought he might when he came, so, that’s professional sports for you perhaps.

    I like what I have heard about Lichtsteiner. I would hope he brings experience to the locker room, depth to the backs, and (we are told) a touch of mongrel.

    cheers from way down here — jgc

  • Surprising stats on Perez, still I can’t find a place for him. Two players per position for our squad is ideal. For the striker role I choose Auba and Laca above him and add the young potential that is Nketiah as the third.

    I wouldn’t want him as an attacking midfielder because his combination passing skills aren’t up to our standard, as I see it.

    Under the circumstance that we can’t financially match Manu, Manc, Chelsea, and lucky Liv (Suarez from £23m to £75m, Coutinho from £10m to £130m and now Salah fron £32m to maybe about £100m), am quite glad with Lichsteiner. I don’t see him as a back up to Bellerin even though his age demands not more than 25 game season and that leaves about the same number of matches for Bellerin who hopefully would be able to learn fron him.

    We are obviously saving money for 2 or 3 top buys with 2 or 3 sales. I believe RISE (Raul-Ivan-Sven-Emery) have a smart plan.

  • PE, I don’t think it is Salah. Rumours about Mane is louder than his.
    Yes. Lichtsteiner’s acquisition for free is much better than we thought, in a market that is over-inflated.

    I do not think Lichtsteiner will join us if he is not convinced that we will put him on the bench for many games. That means more competition for Bells, and agreed that Bells has much to learn in the defensive side from him.

    For now, I see more of the same haggling tactics from the management and it remains to be seen about the other names in the hat.

  • Interesting recent comments, I think that Welbeck suffers from his versatility as he rarely gets a game leading the attack, where I feel he’s more effective – even though I realise that that is a minority view.
    A good World Cup could boost his value, so with one year remaining on his contract will the club cash in this summer?
    The club still needs to sell to balance its books and Welbeck would generate more income than Perez who still has 2 years left on his contract but whose value has dropped alarmingly since his time at Depor.
    To me, stats are a guide, a useful guide but a guide all the same, I still like to trust my eyes and although my eyes aren’t what they were I did like what I saw of Perez. I think he could be a very useful tool coming off of the bench and would allow Nketiah the time to mature into the striker we hope he’ll become.

    Right, off for a cuppa, cheers Geoff. 😉

  • Arseblog reporting that the Adli deal is near-complete– and Joel Campbell to Galatasaray is possible before the WC.


  • Geoff, if a player achieves seven goals/assists in the last ten games of a struggling (and then relegating) team, I think we can say he has something to offer. I rate La Liga stats at least as high as PL stats.

  • Bread and butter stats though, Kevsky. We all rate passion and energy, but Danny struggles to use these effectively. The stats for an attacker are not good and I just don’t think it is a matter of being in the wrong position. Sorry.

    Tea-Total. 🙂

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