Craving For A Striker – Why Newcastle Desperately Need Arsenal’s Lucas Perez
Rather tellingly, Rafael Benitez is now publicly acknowledging his interest in Arsenal forward Lucas Perez and a move to Tyneside for the Spaniard is looking more and more likely.
The Toon’s pre-season has gone very well indeed with comfortable wins over Wolfsburg and Verona, finishing off their friendly campaign. But the fact hat Dwight Gayle couldn’t play a full part is something that stands out. The former Crystal Palace man spent chunks of last season on the sidelines too, though he still managed 23 league goals.
He is a natural finisher and a definite player of Premier League quality, but even if he is fit to start against Tottenham as the club are hinting, his fragility remains a concern to supporters, and of course Benitez as well. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been replacing him when needed but he simply doesn’t have the same sort of finishing prowess. So more is needed.
Somewhat strangely from the outside looking in, Arsenal seem keen to let Perez leave, now that they have affirmed their stance with Alexis Sanchez as well as signing Alexandre Lacazette. So the former Deportivo La Coruna man could end up being a wonderful signing for someone else in the Premier League.
Perez is under contract at the Emirates Stadium until 2020 and so a reasonable fee will be needed, reportedly somewhere in the £13m-£14m bracket, but the North London club’s willingness to get him off their books will certainly help in that regard.
Rafa Benitez is rumoured to want Perez on a season-long loan initially, in order to have a chance to assess his options next summer, whereas Arsenal want the striker off their books altogether and so prefer a permanent deal to be agreed with any suitors.
Perez is supremely talented and would fit in nicely at Newcastle, playing for his fellow countryman. In his very limited games last season, he hit 3 goals from 2 starts out on the right and another goal and assist from 2 starts up front. He knows his stuff and would bring proper quality to the club.
He would certainly not lack the chances at Newcastle with midfielder Jonjo Shelvey creeping into the form of his life (something to watch out for this term), as well as having four wingers, all with different qualities, playing out of their skins in the pre-season and battling with each other for the wide places.
Jacob Murphy, Matt Ritchie, Rolando Aarons and Christian Atsu may all have a surprise quality to them for most Premier League defenders and could provide something for Perez to feed off. It’s a great combo potentially and something Newcastle desperately need, so as to not rely on Gayle alone.