Southampton boss Mark Hughes will be desperately looking to strengthen his squad this summer after the Saints’ recent relegation scare.
One area Hughes will be hoping to bolster is in attack. Both Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini haven’t been efficient enough in front of goal, while the constant string of injuries picked up by Charlie Austin means the 28-year-old is always likely to miss chunks of the season.
To fix Southampton’s problematic forward situation, Hughes should target Arsenal’s Lucas Perez, who is valued at £6.75m by Transfermarkt. Prior to going on loan to Deportivo de La Coruna – the club Arsenal originally bought the Spaniard from – Perez showed glimpses of his quality during his short spell in English football.
Perez was heavily underused by Arsene Wenger – most of his appearances were from off the bench – which is why his statistics aren’t the best.
However, in Deportivo’s 2015/16 La Liga campaign, Perez scored 17 goals and assisted a further 10. That sort of firepower would not only help Southampton avoid another relegation scrap, but also help the team to challenge for a Europa League qualification spot.
Perez’s versatility across the forward line would be an added bonus, too. According to Sky Sports, Ajax are in talks with Southampton to sign attacking midfielder Dusan Tadic, and while Perez wouldn’t be a like-for-like replacement for the Serbia international, he’d easily be able to play on the left-hand or right-hand side if necessary.
Arsenal’s new head coach Unai Emery might want to have a look at Perez before making any decisions regarding the Spanish forward’s future.
But considering the attacking options Arsenal already have, for the right price, the Gunners would probably sell Perez.
If that does happen, then Southampton must be at the front of the queue.