In a recent interview, Lucas Pérez said he felt betrayed by the club for giving away his number 9 jersey. Many Arsenal fans have rallied behind the player and believe the treatment of the player has been shocking and it’s a classless act, but let’s take a closer look.
Pérez is a player that has largely angered fans, not because he hasn’t played well, it’s the fact that he hasn’t been playing enough, brings me back to Joel Campbell in the previous season. But like Campbell, even though he gave 100% for the shirt and had some brilliant moments, he just was not good enough to nail down that first team spot throughout the season. When you hear Pérez you think Champions League hat trick and ‘that’ volley v Bournemouth. In the Champions League he scored 3 and assisted 2 in 3 games, an excellent return for a striker – and the hat trick came from the RW.
In the Premier League it was a different story however, 1 goal and 0 assists in 11, majority of appearances coming from the bench and out of position. Completing about 2 take-ons and 8 key passes in both competitions. It was rare that he got the nod starting in that number 9 role but when he did he didn’t contribute much, often left isolated but he didn’t offer much.
The main reason he couldn’t get going in an Arsenal shirt was mainly the injuries, seemed to be constantly injured and when he was fit you knew it wouldn’t be long until he was again. Its hard to stamp down authority when you come back from injury and the players ahead of you are performing really well.
Now let’s look at the more specific case of the number 9 jersey. But first we should look at what his agent was saying in May ‘The idea is to be able to play for another club, we want to leave and Arsenal already know.’
I remember reading that in May and being gutted because he was a quality option to have and signing a player of Lacazette’s quality was but a dream after failing to secure Champions League football for the next season. So the player was wanting and looking to secure a move away from the club this summer, and in aid of letting Pérez secure a move away he remained at home for the club tour. Why take him on pre-season if he is going to leave? May as well take a youngster and give them a chance right?
It only comes natural for Wenger to give the number 9 shirt to Lacazette, the record breaking signing taking the number 28 when Lucas intends on leaving? Then the number 9 is either left empty for a season or Arsenal give away replacement jerseys for the new numbers – like they did when Wilshere took the number 10. If Arsenal were classless they would have taken the 10 of Wilshere last year, Özil has wanted that since he arrived and made it no secret.
I think the latest Perez interview was manipulative ploy from his camp to turn fans on the club, he was always leaving and was no place for him after signing Lacazette. Will be sorry to see the back of him but it is time for all parties to move on. Adiós Pérez, thank you for everything over the last year, best of luck in the future
Written by – @DeejAFC