Lucas Perez recently spoke to the Arsenal website about his time in the Ukraine and how it made him realise that he’d like to play in the Premier League (or La Liga) one day.
Back in 2011, the striker signed for Ukrainian club, Karpaty Lviv (also spending a loan spell at Dynamo Kyiv). While there, Lucas claims he had to adapt to everything from the weather to the culture and it was a huge learning curve for him, which ultimately helped prepare him for what was to come.
“A few of us got the chance to go and play in Ukraine – I went along with two other Spaniards,” he said to Arsenal Player.
“It was a chance to play in Europe and looked a huge opportunity for us. The three of us weighed it up and decided to go for it.
“One thing led to another, I spent three years of my life in Ukraine. It was really tough because of the distance, the culture, the food… you have to adapt to the climate too. It was very difficult.
“It was a good experience because leaving Spain to go to Ukraine taught me a lot about life. It helped me to figure out what I wanted, to mature and to grow as a person and as a footballer.
“It really helped me on a personal level, but it wasn’t a great experience. It was very hard – there were some tough times.
“I realised that what I really wanted to do was to go to the Spanish league, the Premier League or another big league and play for a big team like Arsenal. My dream was to play in the Premier League or La Liga.
“My career has been on an upward curve from the moment I left for Ukraine right up until today. I feel really happy and I want to take advantage of the opportunity I have. I want to prove the kind of player I am here at a big club.”
Lucas is 28 years old now, so not exactly a spring chicken. However, at a club that’s been built on developing young players, injecting some experience into the side can only be a good thing. Lucas is well traveled and has now played in the Ukrainian league, Greece and La Liga. It shows that he can adapt.
Hopefully, the Spaniard gets a chance to show exactly what he’s learnt with more time on the pitch.
Here are some of Lucas’ highlights from playing in the Ukraine.