Lucas Pérez wants to remain at Arsenal beyond next week’s transfer window, sources close to the player have said, with the striker hopeful of fighting his way into Unai Emery’s plans for the coming season despite interest in his services from Sporting Lisbon.
Pérez was signed by Arsene Wenger almost two years ago, arriving from Deportivo de La Coruña in Spain for £17.1m. However he failed to make much of an impression in north London, scoring just one Premier League goal in his debut campaign, before spending last season out on loan at his former club.
The 29-year-old returned to Arsenal this summer to link up with fellow Spaniard Emery and featured in the club’s first two pre-season friendlies against Boreham Wood, Atlético Madrid, although he was left out of their recent squads for wins over Chelsea and Lazio.
Reports in Portugal this weekend claimed that Arsenal were now ready to accept a significant loss on the player, with a cut-price £4.4m deal with Sporting said to be nearing completion, while earlier this summer there had been interest from Lazio. However, The Independent understands Pérez remains fully committed to forcing his way into Emery’s plans.
Pérez has two-years remaining on the bumper four-year contract he was handed when he arrived at The Emirates.
Whether Emery affords the striker the opportunity to win a place in his first-team for the forthcoming season however remains to be seen. Emery is already well-stocked in attacking positions, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck and youngster Eddie Nketiah all fighting it out for the first choice centre-forward role.
And Emery has said that more fringe players are likely to follow Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla out of the door ahead of Arsenal’s opening match of the season, against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.
“My focus is on the first match and preparing, and not for the window and the possibility to sign another player,” Emery said after the club’s final pre-season friendly, a 2-0 victory over Lazio in Stockholm on Saturday night.
“Maybe we need some players to leave because we have lots in the squad, but at the moment, my one focus is on our work.”
The Premier League summer transfer window closes on Thursday, at 5pm.
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