Arsenal set to beat Everton to signing of Lucas Pérez

Arsenal is set to trump Everton by signing the Deportivo la Coruña forward Lucas Pérez as they seek to bolster the attacking ranks at the Emirates Stadium.

Lucas, who scored 17 goals last season and opened his account for this season with the winner against Elbar last Friday, has a buy-out clause of about £17m written into his contract at the Riazor. Everton had been prepared to meet that amount and had even agreed personal terms in principle with the 27-year-old, only for Arsenal to emerge late as suitors.

Negotiations between the clubs and player are understood to be under way in Spain, with Arsenal confident the move will be confirmed before the weekend. Arsène Wenger had been targeting the addition of a central defender in what remains of the window, but moved for Lucas after Saturday’s goalless draw at the champions, Leicester City, having seen interest in Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette come to nothing earlier in the summer.

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Lucas, who began his career at Atlético Madrid, can operate through the centre or on the flank having established his credentials over spells at Rayo Vallecano, Karpaty Lviv in Ukraine, PAOK Salonika in Greece and, initially on loan in 2014, at Deportivo la Coruña. He signed a four-year deal at the Spanish club last summer.

Confirmation that Arsenal, who can offer Champions League football, have edged Everton out for Lucas represents a blow to the Merseyside club, whose recently appointed director of football, Steve Walsh, had earmarked the forward as a potential signing while at his previous club Leicester.

Ronald Koeman is still searching for a player to operate alongside Romelu Lukaku, who has agreed to remain at Goodison Park for at least another season, with Oumar Niasse, a £13.5m signing from Lokomotiv Moscow back in January, still expected to join Hull City on loan in search of first-team football.

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Everton could yet sell their Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy before next week’s deadline with Crystal Palace, Southampton and Stoke City having all expressed an interest in a player who would cost around £18m. Arsenal still

Arsenal still hope to add a centre-half to their squad before the end of the month, with Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi still their first choice for the role at around £26m.

 

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