In Focus: Newcastle dealt blow in race to sign Arsenal striker Lucas Perez

According to reports in The Sun on Sunday, Newcastle United have been told that they must pay £20m if they want to sign Arsenal striker Lucas Perez.

What’s the word, then?

Well, The Sun on Sunday says that despite the fact that Arsenal bought the Spaniard for £17m last summer and he struggled for game time throughout the previous campaign, they are looking to make a profit on the 28-year-old.

The Sun on Sunday says that Magpies manager Rafa Benitez was keen to sign Perez on a permanent deal, but he will now target a loan for the attacker after being priced out of the move.

The report adds that Newcastle’s fellow newly-promoted Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion are also keen on the forward, while his former club Deportivo La Coruna also want to bring him back to La Liga.

How did Perez do last season?

Despite struggling to break into the Arsenal first-team ahead of the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, Perez did score seven goals and provide a further five assists in 21 appearances in all competitions.

While he only netted one goal in 11 Premier League outings, the 28-year-old was particularly impressive when he was given more of an opportunity in the domestic cups and Champions League, and he netted six times with all of his five assists coming in 10 appearances in those competitions.

Would he be a good signing for Newcastle?

He certainly would be.

While he hasn’t really been given an opportunity by Wenger, the Spaniard showed glimpses of brilliance when he was on the pitch such as his impressive finish against Bournemouth in the Premier League and his hat-trick against Basel in the Champions League.

The 28-year-old came to England following a hugely successful campaign with Deportivo La Coruna and he has shown he knows where the net is – he would certainly provide some much-needed competition for the likes of Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic in attack.

Perez is also a versatile performer as he can play on either wing or as a secondary striker as well as being an out-and-out centre-forward.

Will Arsenal compromise on their asking price?

It’s difficult to say but after missing out on the squad against Leicester on Friday, they will have to reduce the fee if they want to sell him permanently – as it appears they want to do.