It has been a dream season so far for Deportivo La Coruna and their red hot striker Lucas Perez. The Galician club find themselves in sixth place as we approach the half-way point in the season and Perez has already netted 12 goals in La Liga.
Only Barcelona duo Neymar and Luis Suarez have scored more goals in the Spanish top flight than Lucas Perez so far this season. He’s netted the crucial opening goal in 10 of the 16 matches in which he has started and with 12 goals in total to his name he has scored just shy of half of his team’s total of 25.
In short no club in the division has been as dependent on one player as Deportivo have on their home-town hero.
However it has been a far from orthodox rise to the top. Although he was born in A Coruña, Lucas never played for the club’s academy and was something of a late bloomer. His teenage years were spent at various different clubs and he didn’t get first team action until the age of 21 in the Segunda Division with Rayo Vallecano.
He scored just once for the Madrid club before he was released and spells in Ukraine and Greece followed as Lucas looked to save his career before it had even really begun.
He did sufficiently well with PAOK in the Greek Super League to earn another shot in La Liga though by joining newly promoted Deportivo La Coruna on an initial one-year loan deal in the summer of 2014.
However he was seen more as someone to bolster the squad than anything and there had been little sign of what was to come, especially when a knee injury ruled him out for most of the first half of the campaign.
With Depor struggling, Lucas got his chance on his return to fitness and cemented himself in the first team, scoring six times including a crucial goal as the Galicians fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the Camp Nou on the final day, dramatically securing the point they needed to stay up.
2015, his best year yet
Lucas initially returned to Greece and it wasn’t until August that Deportivo finally agreed a permanent deal for the 27 year old, who had played such a big role in keeping them in the division. Since then both parties have gone from strength to strength and Lucas has netted in 7 consecutive league matches heading into the festive break, including a goal as Deportivo once again fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Barcelona.
2015 has unquestionably been the best year of the striker’s career so far, but there is still the underlying idea that Deportivo are punching above their weight. Although they are currently in the Europa League places, with the likes of Sevilla, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao hot on their heels it will be a big ask for them to remain there for the duration of the season.
At 27, Lucas is heading into the prime of his career and if he continues his stunning form, bigger clubs may come calling. However given his undistinguished career until this point the top three sides in La Liga are unlikely to go down that route just yet although he might attract the attention of Premier League sides who are once again likely to splash the cash in the summer and will pay good money for a prolific striker.
Wise to stay put at the Riazor
Lucas though might be wise to stay put. He has yet to spend more than two years at any one club and given he has finally found a manager who trusts him and a team who play to his strengths and are getting the best out of him, surely the striker would benefit from some stability.
The fact that he is doing all this for his home-town club must only make the bond stronger and it’s unlikely that we’ll see Lucas Perez leave the Riazor in the immediate future at least.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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