It seems Arsenal is repeating the same old story this season.
The summer transfer window started with Arsenal being linked to almost all the big strikers in the market and it seemed Arsene Wenger was finally ready to splurge. But it soon turned into yet another summer of discontent at the Emirates with most of the transfer deals falling through.
However, Wenger finally found his man in Spanish forward Lucas Perez, who joined Arsenal for £17.1 million from Deportivo La Coruna. But, this last-minute transfer further proves the point that has been bothering Gunners for a very long time — Arsenal’s lack of ambition.
The transfer market has been action-packed this season with Manchester United splashing £89m to bring Paul Pogba to Old Trafford and Juventus shattering the Italian record to sign Gonzalo Higuain for £75.3 million. But the trend has hardly bothered Arsenal.
The transfer rumour mills were continuously churning about the Gunners eyeing big money targets like Alexandre Lacazette and Jamie Vardy, but their reluctance to spend money got in the way. As a result, they found themselves fighting with Europa League aspirants Everton over Perez — a striker who pales in comparison to the bigger signings made by other top-tier clubs, but augurs well with Arsenal’s well-known philosophy of signing ‘affordable talent’.
The season is just three games old and the importance of having a world-class striker is already apparent when we look at the big clubs in Premier League. Manchester United’s big money signing, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has been a dominant presence on the field with three goals against his name, while Sergio Aguero was instrumental in ensuring a good start for Manchester City.
Last season’s surprise slackers Chelsea have also followed the trend with Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa playing crucial roles in their hard-fought victories. On the other hand, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud has not opened his account till now and the lack of an outright striker was more evident than ever when they faced Leicester City.
In all fairness, Perez is not a mediocre player and he will certainly be a valuable addition to the Gunners squad. With 17 goals and eight assists to his name, Perez had a good run with Deportivo La Coruna last season and when it came to chances created — assists, key passes, shot accuracy and pass completion — he was better than current Arsenal frontman Giroud and French forward Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid).
But he is not the striker that Arsenal needs right now.
According to reports, the Spaniard was Arsenal’s fifth choice in the transfer market and he was only approached by the club after attempts to sign Vardy, Lacazette, Griezmann and Robert Lewandowski failed due to various reasons.
The Gunners already boast of a wide variety of playmakers well adept in creating goal-scoring opportunities. The need of the hour was for an out-and-out goal poacher.
At five feet ,11 inches, Perez is not a towering presence in the penalty box and doesn’t win a lot of aerial duels. He played most of his career as the second striker and will be hard to incorporate in Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Premier League champions over the last four seasons had one player scoring over 20 goals in the season and that is a criteria that the Gunners have failed to meet since Robin van Persie scored 30 goals for them in the 2011-12 season.
At present, Perez does not look like a striker who will be able to change that trend and although this transfer is an epitome of Wenger’s careful and considered transfer ideals, it does not look like an addition which will inspire Arsenal’s title charge this season.