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.
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.