Arsene Wenger: I can understand this Arsenal player’s frustration, I feel sorry for him
The Arsenal manager insists Lucas Perez is a quality striker despite the Spain international's lack of playing time
Arsene Wenger says he can understand Lucas Perez’s frustration at a lack of first-team football at Arsenal this season.
The uncapped Spanish forward moved to Arsenal in a £17m deal from La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna in the 2016 summer transfer window.
Perez has only started two games in the Premier League this season, although the 28-year-old has made a further nine appearances from the bench.
The Arsenal striker has made an impact in the cup competitions after a return of six goals in 10 appearances in the Champions League, EFL Cup and FA Cup.
Perez, unsurprisingly, has been linked with a return to La Liga at the end of the season in a bid to kick-start his career.
Wenger conceded that he has been unable to give Perez the first-team opportunities that the Spanish striker deserved.
“Yes, [I understand that] of course,” Wenger told his pre-match media conference.
“He’s a top-quality striker and I couldn’t give him the games that he wants and that he deserves. I must confess that.
“I feel sorry for him on that front, but we have more strikers available now because we had the situation where Giroud was not clear at the start of the season, we didn’t know when Welbeck would come back, and in the end there was a congestion there.
“Don’t take anything away from his quality.”
Arsenal will take on Premier League leaders Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley later this month.
The Gunners were 2-0 winners against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.