Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has revealed he has talked to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger with regards to a potential transfer of Lucas Perez.
Rumours of the Spaniard’s pending exit from the club have swirled throughout the summer, and the Magpies have been mentioned as possible suitors for some time.
As reported by BT Sport (h/t the Daily Express’ Uche Amako), Benitez was asked about possibly signing Perez during a recent interview, and he confirmed he’s interested in the player:
“I was talking with Arsene yesterday, because we had the managers meeting.
“I said: ‘Listen, we have to talk.’
“And he said: ‘Do you have some money?’
Obviously, we like good players, but it’s too soon to talk about that.”
This isn’t the first time Benitez has refused to deny an interest in the Spaniard―as reported by Lee Ryder of the Chronicle, he previously left the door open for a move:
Asked Rafa after the game on Lucas Perez, can move be ruled out he said: “I know him well and like the player” #nufc
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) August 6, 2017
Perez only joined Arsenal last summer after a productive spell at Deportivo La Coruna, but he barely saw the pitch during his first year in London. When he did play, he usually impressed, but Wenger never appeared to grow fond of the 28-year-old.
As shared by Squawka Football, his production over the last few seasons suggest he could be a great option for many clubs, which is why his lack of minutes last season was so puzzling:
Lucas Perez across all competitions since 2015/16:
44 starts 🏃
25 goals ⚽️
14 assists 🅰️
Involved in a goal once every 105.5 minutes. 👀 pic.twitter.com/2aX66YGBRr
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 7, 2017
Wenger hasn’t used Perez in pre-season, and it seems all but certain he’ll leave the club at some point in the near future. Per Amako, the Gunners’ asking price is the main issue holding up a deal, and Perez’s agent has openly complained about Arsenal’s stance.
As reported by Goal’s Chris Wheatley, only former club Deportivo have made a concrete offer so far:
Newcastle interested in Lucas Perez but yet to make a formal bid. Only official offer is from Deportivo — €10m plus €2m in add-ons. pic.twitter.com/woF14QEZPZ
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) August 9, 2017
Newcastle have the funds to make this move happen―courtesy of Premier League promotion―and for Perez, the opportunity to make his mark in England’s top division, albeit at a different club, should be a great prospect.
It’s unlikely a club like Deportivo could come up with a transfer fee that would tempt the Gunners, especially if English clubs are also in for the ace striker