Arsene Wenger’s first decade in charge of Arsenal produced scintillating football, three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the chance to take over the mantle from Manchester United as the top club in England for a few years.
Alas, the great Frenchman spent his final few years in charge suffering with a squad which couldn’t sustain a title challenge while making some mistakes in the transfer window which affected the club financially.
The likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Alexandre Lacazette and Calum Chambers arrived for vastly inflated fees and didn’t have the impact that many of the supporters were expecting.
However, the signing of striker Lucas Perez was perhaps one of Wenger’s poorest moves in the transfer market, especially when it comes to impact on the field compared to just how much money he cost the club during his two seasons contracted to the Gunners.
How much did Lucas Perez cost Arsenal?
Arriving at the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2016 from Deportivo La Coruna for a fee of £17m, Perez was expected to grab the goals which would give Arsenal a chance at challenging for the Premier League title.
He enjoyed a rather fruitful time in the season prior, scoring 17 La Liga goals while missing a staggering 24 big chances. This suggested he could have exceeded 30 goals had he been more composed in the final third, and this would eventually become a problem at the Gunners.
It took until January 2017 for the Spaniard to score his first league goal for Arsenal, although he had netted a Champions League hat-trick against Basel in December. Overall he scored just seven goals in 21 matches for the club as the £17m fee turned out to be far overpriced for the striker.
He was loaned back to Deportivo for the 2017/18 campaign and managed to score nine goals and supply eight assists, suggesting that he might just not have been cut out for English football.
Across his 104-week spell as an Arsenal player, he cost the club a combined total of £23.7m (£17m transfer fee plus £6.7m in wages) and it went down as a colossal waste of money which could have been invested elsewhere by Wenger.
Not satisfied with his failed stint in north London, Perez joined West Ham United in 2018, clearly looking to find some form and prove that he could score on a regular basis in the English top flight.
Alas, a paltry return of six goals saw him leave the Hammers and return to the familiar territory of La Liga, departing for Alaves after just 11 months in east London.
Mikel Arteta certainly appears to have stabilised Arsenal and will likely ensure that money is properly invested, as opposed to signing duds such as Perez, and the Gunners’ future looks brighter now than it has done for some time.