If reports are to be believed, Lucas Perez could be joining Everton before the transfer window shuts next week. But what would he bring to Koeman’s table?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After Ronald Koeman transformed Shane Long into one of the Premier League’s most threatening marksmen, he has his eyes set on bringing the Irishman’s Spanish equivalent to Goodison Park.
The 27-year-old shot to prominence after netting 17 times for his boyhood club Deportivo in La Liga last season and has been the subject of intense speculation throughout the summer, reports suggesting he topped the wishlists of both Leicester City and Barcelona.
According to the Daily Mail, Everton’s new director of football Steve Walsh (below, left) had identified Lucas as a primary target during his role as chief scout for the Premier League champions.
However, his move to Merseyside in July means Everton have jumped to the head of the queue, benefitting from the renowned talents of a man credited with discovering Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante. Their combined fee? Around £7 million.
And Lucas, though admittedly more expensive than the title winning trio, appears an ideal fit for Everton and new manager Ronald Koeman.
An energetic and willing runner, the uncapped Spaniard is adept at racing in behind backlines and harrying defenders into errors. His late equaliser against Atletico Madrid at the Riazor in October (below) summed up Lucas better than any words could; chasing down and stealing the ball from a dawdling Jose Maria Gimenez before rounding Jan Oblak with supreme composure.
The comparisons with a certain Jamie Vardy are not without foundation.
Yet, its Lucas’ likeness to another hard-working centre-forward that will be of interest to Koeman. Shane Long (below) enjoyed his most prolific, not to mention consistent, top flight season under the Dutchman at Southampton last season, his relentless movement and enthusiastic press making him an excellent focal point for Koeman’s high-tempo system.
Lucas, then, could operate in a similar role. Laying on eight assists for his team-mates in Spain last season, the former Atletico youngster also possesses that selfless collective ethic that his potential new manager craves above all else.
And, if Koeman wants Lucas, he could not find a better wingman than Steve Walsh.