Wenger: I feel sorry for Lucas

Wenger: Perez has an eye for goal

Arsene Wenger admits that Lucas Perez has been the victim of positional ‘congestion’ and feels sorry that he’s not been able to give the striker more game time this season.

The Spaniard, who signed in the summer from Deportivo La Coruna for a fee in the region of £17 million, has only made nine starts in all competitions with the manager preferring to deploy the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck up front.

Frustrated by his situation at the Emirates, Lucas told Spanish press this week that he’s eager to prove himself as a Gunner but could be lured back to Spain if it looks as though he won’t feature more regularly.

Asked about the issue ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Southampton, the boss was full of sympathy for the 28-year-old, who he admits has done well when called upon.

“He’s a top quality striker,” said Wenger. “I couldn’t give him the games he wants and that he deserves, I must confess that. I feel sorry for him on that front.

“We had more strikers available [later in the season] because we had the situation with Giroud [coming back late from EURO 2016] that was not clear at the start of the season. Welbeck…we didn’t know when and will he come back.]

“In the end there has been congestion there. It doesn’t take anything away from his quality.”

Asked what he plans to do with Lucas, the boss admitted he’ll have to hold clear the air talks in the summer although his preference remains to keep him at the club.

“I would love to [keep him]. If I am the manager I would love to keep him. We have to sit down together to see if he has a reasonable chance to play or not next season.”

Wenger also confirmed that Lucas has regained fitness after a short spell out with a thigh problem.

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62 Comments on "Wenger: I feel sorry for Lucas"

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“If I am the manager”?


Exactly! So it is true that even he doesn’t know. May be the rift is real.


I’ve not listened to question, but to me, the quote read like he had forgotten he hasn’t confirmed his future yet and added the qualifying statement as an after thought!


^Precisely this^

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

Or he knows and is keeping up the pretence anyway.


You wouldn’t think so by the way he acts and speaks. I thoroughly sick of his bullshit.


Struggling to envisage any eventuality where Perez isn’t a better choice than Theo.
Having said that, you just know that if we decided to sell Theo, he’d probably go to PL rival and bang in 30 goals next season.


Problem with selling Theo is the insane wages he’s on. Nobody will pay him anything close to that, so we’re more looking at paying somebody to take him off our hand. Man. City certainly won’t be interested anymore with Guardiola at the helm (he’s not really known for defensive focus and fast counter attacks), so who would buy?

Andy Mack

For any club the buying price and salary of a player are a package.
Provided the total cost is within the buyers price range then most don’t care what the split is, and salary is a relatively small part of the total in the present market.


Dude, Perez has performed better than all our strikers this year so let’s not pick on Theo eh?!

Aran Watson

Fair point, northern goon


And on that note Theo’s hardly been our worst striker this year either!

jackson willis-smith joseph bergkamp
jackson willis-smith joseph bergkamp

I agree, I’ve never understood why Wenger has opted to play Walcott instead of Perez. All right Walcott did have a good patch in the beginning of the season, but still I think in our terrible run, Walcott was one of the main reasons for our collapse. I’m extremely puzzled by Wenger’s choice to play him, because if you look at his statistics, it’s so evident that he just hides during games. I think in that barren run in all the games Sanchez had 40-50 touches per game, while Walcott averaged something like 15-20, which is absolutely ridiculous and the main reason behind Bellerins loss of form. It is quite obviously going to ruin our game, when one of our players just doesn’t use the space and free himself up to have a pass. He just constantly wanders into central positions, clogs up the middle, taking away any space that there could be for our central striker and leaves all the winger duties for our fullback.

And as a second point, when was the last time Walcott tried to run past someone? Isn’t he supposed to be like one of the fastest players in the league? He just never even tries to get past anyone and hardly ever does any diagonal runs anymore. His inclusion has been hugely detrimental for our game.

Anyhooters, coming back to Perez, I would’ve really liked to see him play more this season. I think he wouldn’t fit us as a central striker, we would need some who is strong (Welbeck, Giroud) or someone who is a good dribbler and extremely mobile (Sanchez). Perez is a decent dribbler, but doesn’t have that much strength on him to play centrally in the EPL. On the wing, though, his a good eye for a cross, decent pace, grittiness and consistent efficiency make him a very dynamic option.


its depressing to see theo with ball , he would either loose the ball or pass it back to others . he never tries to take on a player , how does wenger keep a player as limited as him in the first team is beyond me . certainly his pace is a threat and with that he scored goals , but the club of arsenals stature can easily find a player who have pace and is good on ball .

Heavenly Chapecoense

I doesn’t have to be Perez XOR Walcott. Wenger can replace Walcott at 60th minute and use Perez or use vice versa.

canon fodder

The problem is that Lucas is all left foot like Poldoski; he therefore has to compete with Wellbeck, Ozil and Iwobi for the left-hand slot…Furthermore, Lucas has been injured a lot.

Kevin bacon

Or giroud


Theo going to a rival and banging in 30 goals is incredibly incredibly unlikely.
Almost impossible.
Firstly, no team in the top 6 would buy him. He doesnt have the passing ability or general intelligence for a Pep or Klopp side. He doesnt have the discipline for Conte. United have the money to buy Bale and Griezmann, why would they buy him?
Secondly, it is almost impossible to think he will get as much offensive freedom and as many second chances as he has had at Arsenal. Consider this: a 20 year old Anthony Martial scored 17 goals in his first season at United. Already with a dip in form they are thinking of moving him on. 17 goals would have been Walcott’s third best year of his career.
Lastly, we have the history of offensive talent that has left Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. Apart from real world class talent like Henry, Fabregas and Van Persie (who left for better opportunities) pretty much no one has really developed into a better player. Hleb (who wasn’t really willingly sold), Reyes, Baptista, Gervinho, Podolski, Arshavin, Bendtner, Adebayor and on and on. There is a good case that if an offensive player can’t perform under Wenger than he cant perform anywhere else either.


Henry, Fabregas and van Persie didn’t develop into better players after leaving – they maintained their personal levels in teams with better overall quality around them and therefore achieved more.

Doesn’t mean I disagree with you point though – in fact it reinforces it more.


This guy cannot go after one season. I think he’s better than Welbeck, he’s technically sound, good football brain and he’s actually impressed massively with goals and assists in the few games he’s played. I think he compliments our midfielders as well with clever runs and one touch football. A bit of Eduardo about him.


We all know the boss values flair over efficiency.
Yes, I’m still bitter over Podolski.


I used to bang the Podolski drum incessantly when he was with us. In particular, I always wanted him to be played through the middle. When he got that chance he didn’t really grasp it, but I guess he also didn’t get a great run of games there.
I think there’s always a tendency when we’re not playing well to assume that the options that aren’t being used, such as Perez, are going to be better, when actually we don’t know and we don’t see them train everyday.
I’d personally like him to play, but I genuinely don’t know if we have enough to go on, given the quality of opposition he’s generally started against. I do feel sorry for him as he seems to have been bought as a fig-leaf to the fans.


Still miss Podolski, shame he didn’t quite fit.

Fantastic player, hammer of a left foot and always a gunner in my mind.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Wenger should be a good worker union’s leader. He has a priority list based onwho was there first.

Svein Granstroem

Strikes me that Lucas would be a better striking option in terms of finishing and movement than Walcott, Giroud and Welbeck. His numbers are very good, and I can only imagine what 40+ games a season would do for him. A shame Wenger clearly does not include him in his future plans

Harish P

He deserved better, even earlier in the season when options were thinner. He still deserves chances. I like Giroud but I’d like to trust those chances on Perez. I’m always particularly impressed by something he does every game, if it’s not getting a goal or setting up a chance he’s running back to get a ball he just lost (successfully) and I love seeing that effort and hard work.

We cause our own misery, this is such a quality player who can play any of the forward 3 positions well.


Wenger causes our misery. Please


this is your own doing wenger you mug. just play him if hes fit. get rid of that donkey giroud.



Heavenly Chapecoense

Isn’t this a donkey comment though ?


In my opinion Lucas was better at the wings than Walcott, Iwobi, Ramsey and even the Ox.
Why he didn’t get the gametime when he wasn’t injured is beyond me.
At Striker he could have been a better option when Sanchez was burning out, Giroud out of form.

Will be a shame if we lost him this summer but understandable from from his point of view


Positional congestion? Onky if you include Walcott as a rival. A man who spends most games kicking the fecking thing into touch when hes not hiding or passing the ball backwards to the right back whos just given him it. It always looked like we had 10 men on the pitch with Perez on, it nearly always doesnt when Walcott plays. Still, he gives great post match interview and that’s what counts.




He should be getting more game time that’s for sure. At Clea St he’s willungbto track back and make challenges (take note TW14)


Fones throwing a hussy fit lol

bob davis

I hope Wenger show Perez some faith by giving him some game time over the next few weeks. He might stick around then.

After the Sp-rs performance I wouldn’t let Giroud back in the squad!


Giroud was useless against City too, but that has a lot to do with the new system I think. He spent most of that game totally isolated and mobility is never going to be his thing over long stretches. Welbeck came on and was able to drop back a bit and get behind the defenders more when we had the ball, neither of which are part of Giroud’s M.O.

Gary Baldy

Sell Walcott and make space on the flanks to play Lucas, as an option from the bench or a start interchanged with Iwobi or Welbeck.

If we lose Sanchez then Perez down the middle . . . or something. If Wenger really wants him to stay, and I don’t doubt that from the article, then he needs to offer him at least the chance to come on in games if not start.

He can fit in, it is just who makes way. He has pace, is consistant on current showings, can create and provide, has a thumping shot, has height and is strong enough to cause a problem for defenders . . . or we have Walcott.

No wonder Perez is frustrated !


hope lucas does’nt do a cesc on us and win things with a rival.


I think more could have been done to keep Perez. HE clearly has good output. I am sure he will stay if he can at least make the bench every game. Smart, team player, efficient. Qualities that we don’t have at the moment.

Andy Mack

He’s not gone yet…


He’s also had a fair few injuries this season also.

Positional congestion, yes, bad timing, yes.

In a period where we were shite, would Lucas have made the difference? I don’t know, but I accept the managers decision to play the known quantities he had at his disposal to get us through that period.

Lest we forget that on the goals and scoring front this season, we’ve been ok, it’s our inability to defend, poor distribution from the back to front and confidence that has cost us points, and position in the league.


I think Welbeck can replace Giroud and Perez can replace Walcott


Feel sorry for him? Isn’t it the manager’s fault he is in this situation in the first place?


This is basically an apology though isn’t it?

Erhmagerd Werngerberl!
Erhmagerd Werngerberl!

“If i am the manager?” You will be dude, don’t sweat it.


His goal against Bournemouth was one of my favorites from this season and it sums him well, awareness, touch and skill. He has to stay and be given a real chance.


Er, seeing as we’ve hardly been pulling up trees in the last 4 months up front, I would suggest there has been plenty of opportunity to play him. Wenger has been far too loyal to others who haven’t deserved a place. Its all very well protecting your players, but when they are not delivering you have to drop em. To my mind, Wenger is not ruthless enough.

Nelson Viva Las Vegas
Nelson Viva Las Vegas

Curse of the “9” strikes again…


I wonder if Lucas feels sorry for Wenger.


Perez should be given more opportunities
Do a swap deal with Leicester for Mahrez with Lolcott

Igbo Amadi-Obi

The Lucas situation calls for pragmatism rather than sympathy. We need to make some dispassionate decisions, and not be sentimental, as we tend to be. To improve our attacking capabilities, who needs to stay and who needs to go and who do we need to bring in? Sadly, Perez has been injury-prone and that has contributed to limited chances. But I do believe he has more to offer our team than Theo Walcott, both as a striker and a winger. He needs to be fit to be any use though.

I also think we need to decide about Giroud. No need cluttering the bench with unhappy heavyweights. Do we need a quicker, more creative striker. Why is it United being mentioned in connection with an obviously unsettled Aguero, rather than us? For instance.


crazy arsene Wenger. he is the one who signed Perez. he is just wasting Perez’s best years. would have got Spain call up if plays regularly. Poor Perez ..clearly deserves better manager.

Faisal Narrage

I can already foresee our striking situation next season.
– Wenger stays
– Perez, disappointed at being Elneny’d and knowing he’s never gonna be Wenger’s choice, will ask to leave.
– Wenger will instead send him out on loan for 2 years, ensuring he’ll have a year left on his contract and put us in a sticky situation.
– After months of ignoring it, he will then ask to sit down with Sanchez
– Sanchez tells him he wants to leave
– Wenger umms and ahhhs till he sells him in the last week of the window.
– Remembers he sent Perez on loan.
– Welbeck gets a niggly injury that will have him out for “2-3 week”. He returns in Feb 2018.
– Our “congested options” all of a sudden does a reversal, and were left with Giroud as starting CF again
– To keep numbers, Wenger offers Sanogo a 1 year extension.
– Kenan and Kel show up on ArsenalTV to scream “aaaaaw, here it goes”.


What’s with people overrating bench player? To be honest his stat got inflated because he only played against shit teams.


We can’t thrive as a team if a better player lost the spot to the worse one.


The question worth asking is why did Wenger give precedence to Danny Welbeck over Lucas Perez after Welbeck’s return from injury?
Perez has played a grand total of 401 minutes across the entire season (thats less than 4 and a half full matches) and scored 8 goals. Welbeck has played 548 minutes despite missing half the season with injury and only got 4 goals. Perez has 2 assists to Welbeck’s 0. Sure an argument can be made that he has played against weaker team and should obviously have better number but how can a striker be expected to show his performance when he isn’t even allowed to play? Isn’t it Wenger’s own argument that players need to time to settle into new systems?
If this was based on a how good they are considered generally in comparison to each other than Lucas Perez scored 17 goals last season for mid table Depor in Spain. Welbeck has never in his 10 season of top flight football, for 2 of the best attacking units in world football at United and Arsenal, ever had double figures in the league.
That is not congestion. Its either a gross overestimation of talent or blatant favoritism.

Chimichanga Monreal (cuz that\'s really fun to say)
Chimichanga Monreal (cuz that\'s really fun to say)

Don’t feel sorry for him, play him.

Original Paul

Yes me too.


Wenger away with the fairies again.

Perez ahead of Walcott every time.


Lucas is a great striker, he shd be given more games than Giroud.


Another fantastic buy by Wenger.

Sadly he has not used him enough and now Lucas has suffered the Arsenal injury curse.

I expect he may want to leave for some football on the pitch given his age.

Its no big deal for us as we have to add quality still.

Mahrez is available if we should make CL.

I would also look at Konoplyanka on loan from Sevilla at Schalke.

This addition to keeping Ozil AND/or Alexis.

We need more technical/creative players.

Some of the British core can go – Jack, Gibbs, Walcott, Jenko. (Add Debuchy and Elneny)

That experiment was a bit over wrought IMO.

The technical level of the league has risen largely as even lower teams have shed that xenophobia.

And along with it, our technical advantage has also dissipated.

Wenger tends to buy well in the market. Whether he buys sufficient is another issue. In recent seasons, we are more or less up to numbers….but we as mentioned, lack technicality now.