With the signing of Deportivo’s Lucas Perez all but officially announced, fans have already started to question whether the striker is really an ‘upgrade’ on Olivier Giroud.
Firstly, unless you’re an avid watcher of La Liga, you’re probably learning about Perez through stats, hearsay and YouTube compilation videos. That’s fine – so am I. Therefore, I understand the need to compare him to a player we do know: Giroud.
Everyone knew we needed a striker and the fact that Perez, despite being linked with moves to Everton and Leicester City, isn’t a ‘big name’ has left Gooners a little curious. After all, we need him to add something to the squad, don’t we?
The thing is, Perez is not and was never supposed to be an ‘upgrade’ on Giroud. He’s not a replacement – the big France international ain’t going anywhere. He’s merely a second option and, from what others who actually have watched him play regularly seem to be saying, a pretty good one at that.
Lucas Perez is a signing Arsenal fans should be excited about if it happens. Deadly finisher, great associative play & incisive movement.
— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 24, 2016
Perez is the Plan B we’ve wanted.
However, for argument’s sake, let’s take a look at his stats compared to Oli’s.
According to Opta, Perez has scored 17 goals in 36 appearances, compared to Giroud’s 16 in 38. He also grabbed eight assists to Oli’s six and has an average of 1.39 shots on target per game. Oli has 1.13. He also creates two chances per match, compared to Giroud’s 0.95.
Even though Perez does seem statistically ‘better’, these don’t really tell you much when he plays for a different type of team in a completely different League. Although Giroud is ‘worse’ on paper, he’s up against far stronger defenders and the games are more intense.
What the stats do show, however, is that Perez is a capable striker. He can score and create effectively. We won’t see how he fares in the Premiership until he starts and even then, Arsenal fans really need to get out of the habit of making snap judgements on players before they’ve had a chance to bed in.
Give the bloke a chance.