Andriy Yarmolenko’s injury could not have come at a worse time for the Ukrainian and West Ham.
After a slow start to life at the London Stadium, Yarmolenko burst into life in the Hammers’ 3-1 win over Everton back in September, scoring two of his side’s goals on the day.
Since then, Yarmolenko has only gone from strength to strength, helping West Ham to later inflict a 3-1 defeat on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
But now, manager Manuel Pellegrini will be forced to look elsewhere with Yarmolenko set to miss most of the season after damaging his Achilles in a recent 1-0 defeat to London rivals Tottenham.
And one man the West Ham boss could possibly turn to is Lucas Perez. Like Yarmolenko, Perez arrived at the London Stadium during the summer, but the Spaniard has failed to make much of an impact at the club so far.
Perez has been reduced to a bit-part role, making all of his Premier League appearances off the bench. However, with Yarmolenko set for an extended period on the sidelines, Perez may finally be able to make his mark in east London — and the 30-year-old is certainly capable of doing so.
At his previous club Arsenal, £5.4m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Perez was also on the fringes and spent last season on loan with Deportivo de La Coruna, as a result.
In the games he did play for the Gunners, though, Perez did look like a threat with that dangerous left foot of his.
With that in mind, Perez could be the most suitable replacement for Yarmolenko on the right-hand side, given he can cut inside and fire away shots with his left foot like the Ukraine international.
And looking at Perez’s La Liga record during his first permanent stint with Deportivo, goal-scoring ability is certainly present in him.
During the 2015/16 season, he scored 17 goals in 36 appearances, a goal-scoring tally only three players outside Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid could beat.
If there is a time for Pellegrini and West Ham to unleash Perez, then it is now.