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Lucas Perez deserves more starts at Arsenal

When Lucas Perez was brought in from Deportivo La Coruna near the end of the summer transfer window, many fans and pundits assumed that the Spaniard would be a solid addition to the club. While not a world-class striker, Perez is a capable and versatile player. Whether being deployed up front as a center forward, out wide on the left flank, or perhaps even sitting just behind the number nine as a secondary striker, the 28-year-old certainly has the skill set to play for a top Champions League level club.

Although Perez has showed positive attributes during his short time in north London, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has yet to truly unleash his new striker. The forward has managed just nine starts in all competitions, with only two of these coming in Premier League play. Despite the lack of playing time, Perez has still managed to rack up an impressive seven goals and five assists in just 889 total minutes (the equivalent of about 10 full games) on the pitch with the Gunners.

Perez has even proven his worth when given a rare spot in the team’s starting XI. During his nine total starts with Arsenal, Perez has scored six goals and added three assists.

The lack of time on the pitch for Perez has fueled rumors that he will depart north London following the conclusion of the current campaign.  However, his agent quickly denied these “reports” by telling Sportsmail, “Lucas has a contract with Arsenal.  He wants to succeed there and as any professional wants to play.  When one does not play (one) is not happy, but we knew this is difficult.  (He has a) long contract.”

Earlier in the month, Perez himself acknowledged the difficulties of settling into a new club.  “Players are all different, so some take longer to adapt than others,” he told the Arsenal website.  “It was still quite a change for me to get used to the English league when I moved here from Spain.  Everyone needs some time to adjust.  Now I feel really comfortable and I’ve fitted in well to the team – that’s particularly important for a player.”

With Perez seemingly ready to fight on with the Gunners, Wenger should look to hand his new player more starts heading into the final few months of the season. The forward gives Arsenal a mixture of pace, vision, and finishing abilities that would suit the club right now.

Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi, Wenger’s normal pair for the flanks, have both had decent campaigns, but sometimes a team must shake up the lineup to help produce more results. With only two wins in their last five games in all competitions, the manager should try to freshen up the starting XI and give Perez a chance to shine. Arsenal’s next match is a massive match in Merseyside against Liverpool on Sunday.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Arsenal games on US TV and streaming

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