According to a report in Italy, Lucas Perez is closing in on a move to Lazio despite other reports claiming Unai Emery has ordered him back to Arsenal for pre-season training.

The Spaniard has endured a tough season since he left Arsenal on loan and was expected to leave in the summer, either temporarily again or on a permanent deal.

Links with a number of clubs in Italy have been persistent over recent weeks but after the appointment of Emery, stories started to emerge that Lucas would join up with Arsenal for pre-season.

Emery is said to be an admirer of the goalscorer and tried to sign him for PSG just before he moved to Arsenal.

Corriere dello Sport report Lucas’s friend, Luis Alberto, as saying, “Lucas will turn 30 in September – still young for football, and it is the ideal boundary between youth and maturity. He dreams of continuing to grow as a player, to find new motivations, to fight for big goals other than salvation. He wants to try to live as long as he is in professional football.

Arsenal's Spanish striker Lucas Perez celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on January 3, 2017. / AFP / Glyn KIRK /
AFP / Glyn KIRK /

“Replaying in European competitions is one of his goals that he wants to achieve, but first of all he wants to enjoy what he loves, football. Lucas enjoys his profession every second and has a two-year contract with Arsenal.

“The club has never put him on the market, it was the player who decided to move at the end of the last summer market. He was sorry to be on the bench, not to be called into question.”

The Spaniard’s agent has been working hard to find a new home for the forward with a move to Serie A looking like it could be on the cards. Genoa and Napoli have also been linked.

But according to a report in Coruna publication, El Desmarque, he could be playing at Arsenal next season.

Lucas has been told to report to Arsenal for pre-season training with the rest of the available squad on July 2 and the arrival of Emery is seen as ‘good news’ by the player’s camp.

However, his agent, Rodrigo Fernandez Lovelle, is expected to meet with Arsenal sometime in the first two weeks of June to discuss his future. Lazio are believed to be waiting on the result of this meeting.

Lucas has two years left on his current Arsenal deal.

Lucas Perez scores against Basel

Speaking in March, Lovelle admitted that Lucas’s return to Deportivo had not gone well.

“You don’t regret it [returning to Deportivo], but obviously it was not the best step,” Lovelle said. “It’s true that, looking at the situation, it was not the best decision.

“I still think he (Perez) would have taken the same decision because he is a Deportivo fan. Lucas has too much love and respect for this jersey and he would never say if he did regret returning.

“The player is sad because he came with all the enthusiasm and turned down better offers from a sporting and financial standpoint, because his dream was to return home.

“The season is not going individually and collectively as he had hoped for. He took a risk knowing that coming here it would have been more difficult for him to return to the [Spain] national team, and it hasn’t gone well.”

A number of other clubs are believed to have expressed an interest in signing Lucas ahead of next season including Benfica, whom his agent says cannot afford Lucas’s wages.