Perez could stay at Arsenal but will he even play?

Arsenal forward Lucas Perez could be staying at the Emirates Stadium this season after his agent Rodrigo Fernandez Lovelle told Calciomercato that there were no offers coming from other clubs. Perez has an uncertain future after spending last season out on loan at Deportivo La Coruna, but Lovelle played down suggestions that the 29-year-old could be on the move.

He said: “For now, there is nothing – no contact. For now, only Arsenal”. Perez has been linked with Italian Serie A side Lazio, but he may not be sold unless his £7m asking price is met. The Spanish centre-forward hasn’t played for the Gunners since April 2017 and has a lot of competition in the squad.

Signed from Depor in 2016, Perez has gone on to make 21 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal, scoring and creating 12 goals. The striker has started only two Premier League games since the move, instead featuring in the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League group stages, so it’s surprising that new manager Unai Emery could retain his services.

Emery could be offering Perez a clean slate and giving him the chance to prove his worth, but the odds are certainly against the Spaniard. Arsenal have abundance of attacking players, so it’s hard to see how Perez would ever get into the first-team. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are expected to lead the line this season, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck could operate in attacking-midfield roles.

Perez has endured a hellish time at Arsenal, losing his place in the side despite returning good numbers for goals and assists. He could be open to the prospect of a permanent departure from the Emirates as he’ll want regular football at his age, but time is running out to agree a deal with a suitor.

Arsenal paid £17m for Perez two years ago but could be selling the forward for less than half that price now. The 29-year-old still has a lot of supporters who want to see him in action before casting their judgement on his future, as he did produce goals when he featured, but Perez may not be afforded such an opportunity.

It would be a strange decision to stay at Arsenal given his struggle for playing time, but what will Perez do this summer? The Gunners certainly don’t need another attacking player in the squad this season, so selling him makes perfect sense.

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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