Newcastle manager working on a “breakthrough” amid rumours of Lucas interest

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Lucas Perez of Arsenal looks on during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Rafa Benitez claims that Newcastle are working on a ‘breakthrough’ in their pursuit of Lucas Perez.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Lucas Perez will most likely be leaving this summer following months of speculation, as well as the forward’s agent, Rodrigo Fernandez Lovelle, revealing that Lucas was ‘angry and sad’ over having his shirt number (#9) given to Alexandre Lacazette.

One of the clubs linked with a move for the 28-year-old has been Newcastle, which manager Benitez appeared to confirm to the Shield Gazette when asked about whether the Magpies were close to a ‘breakthrough’.

“We are working on that but it’s not an easy transfer window,” he said. “We have to wait and see if we can do something.”

Wenger has confirmed that Lucas will be leaving after just one year at Arsenal. However, the Gunners have reportedly priced the Spaniard at £13m, which clubs, such as Newcastle, apparently aren’t willing to meet.

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The want-a-way forward therefore may have to settle for a loan move.

“Yes (he will leave),” confirmed Wenger on Thursday afternoon, “because we have a congestion of strikers. I don’t like to lose him because, for me, he’s a top-quality striker but we have many strikers.

“At some stage, too much competition is not competition anymore. You cannot give the chance to everybody, so if he finds a satisfying solution at least for a short time, he will do it.”

Last season, Lucas made just 21 appearances for Arsenal. However, in that limited time, he managed to score seven and assist five.

He also spent a total of 82 days sidelined through injury, which does partially explain why he had so few minutes on the pitch.

Wenger giving Lacazette the #9 shirt was obviously the straw that broke the camel’s back, according to his agent, as this proved how far down the pecking order he was with the World Cup next year.

It’s a shame as it doesn’t feel as if Lucas was given a proper chance but if he moves somewhere else at least he should get that.