Player Zone: Lucas Perez showing glimpses of why West Ham must keep him

Last weekend West Ham were made to rue a costly error from the officials. With the club staring at an impressive win over Leicester, they had a goal criminally ruled out for offside, before the Foxes then equalised minutes later to seal a 2-2 draw.

It was a game which just about summed up the Hammers’ season. They’ve been on the wrong end of some horrible refereeing decisions and that was again the case on this occasion.

But a cameo from one man provided evidence of why it’s simply baffling that he’s been so out of favour under Manuel Pellegrini.

The player in question is Lucas Perez. He doesn’t create many headlines but he’s the type of player who, with game time, has the attributes to flourish in a midtable Premier League side.

Last weekend may have been all about his namesake, Ayoze Perez, but the West Ham man was also deserving of praise.

He played just 12 minutes from the bench, a position he’s become all too familiar with during his time in English football, but he was fantastic. He made clever runs in behind and was unfortunate not to score twice.

The Spaniard did find himself on the scoresheet once, tapping home from close range after being in the right place at the right time, but he was the unfortunate man at the centre of West Ham’s disallowed goal controversy.

It was an incredibly bright cameo, one which questions why he’s started just four times in the league this term. West Ham have plenty of talented strikers but with none finding consistency, perhaps he should have been the beneficiary.

Football FanCast sources revealed only last month that West Ham are planning a clear out of their strikers but Perez is someone who needs to stick around.

After all, the goals he’s scored for Deportivo La Coruna in Spain is evidence of his ability to perform in mid-table teams and that could be vital for a side like West Ham.

Before moving to Arsenal in 2016, he scored 17 goals for the La Liga outfit. He then notched eight goals and claimed six assists on loan at the same team last season.

He’s shown he’s a creative player and a hat-trick for Arsenal in the Champions League against Basel tells you all you need to know of his quality.

But perhaps it’s telling that players with European pedigree continue to underperform at West Ham. Maybe there’s a deeper rooted issue within the club.

Either way, Perez deserves more than the way he’s been treated in England and after his latest performance, Pellegrini needs to place more trust in him.

As the Irons gear up to take on Spurs, there’s a certain narrative in the air that a former Arsenal man could damage their top four hopes.

From a Gunners point of view, that may be too much to ask but they can certainly hope.

When the 5 ft 9 striker arrived in England in August 2016, Arsene Wenger told the Arsenal website; “He’s not only a goalscorer, he’s a guy who combines well with partners, who can give a final ball and makes good runs.”

And from his outing against Leicester that is evident, particularly with his willing runs.

Perez has a resilient nature about him and his career path shows how hard he’s had to work to be where he is. He’s made his way through Ukrainian football with Karpaty Lviv and Dynamo Kiev before also playing for Greek Super League side POAK.

It’s an interesting career path that’s led him to England but possibly now more than ever, he deserves a run in the Premier League. West Ham have nothing to play for between now and the end of the season and they could do far worse than turning to Perez to solve their attacking issues.

A move away looks as though it beckons and at the age of 30 it’s no surprise. However, his three goals from just four starts this term suggests there’s still something to work with.