Lucas Perez has revealed that Arsenal's interest in securing his services piqued during last January's transfer window. The Spanish striker said he could not leave Deportivo La Coruna then but jumped at the second opportunity when days just before the end of the summer transfer deadline day the Gunners made a new approach.
Arsene Wenger has been in the hunt for a new striker to provide competition for Olivier Giroud for a while. Arsenal had launched a futile bid to sign Leicester City star Jamie Vardy earlier in the summer while reports also emerged the north London club had made an offer for Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette.
The French boss failed to land both targets and only a week before the transfer deadline switched his attention to Lucas Perez, beating Everton to his signature after triggering his €20m (£16.7m, $22.3m) release clause at Deportivo.
The Independent had reported that Arsenal had been monitoring the Spanish striker for a while after an impressive spell in La Liga last season, scoring 17 goals and providing a further 10 assists. According to the report, Wenger only decided to sign him at the very last minute after initially ruling out his acquisition amid concerns over his real worth.
Perez revealed Arsenal's pursuit during a farewell press conference at Deportivo: "The Arsenal offer came just days before the end of the transfer window. But I knew about the interest of Arsenal for a long time. They showed interest in me during the January transfer window but then I couldn't leave.
"They also showed interest in me after the end of La Liga (earlier this summer). But then, they have their way of working and the offer came only days before the end of the market."
The former Deportivo star added that Arsenal's famous scout Francis Cagigao had been monitoring his progress since his days at Ukrainian side Karpaty Lviv and at PAOK.
"Francis was the person who told me everything Wenger thought about me. We had good feeling. He knows me from games at Greece and Ukraine too. It's something that surprised me."
Perez believes the move could be a major step in his career and a golden opportunity to break into the Spanish national team. "It is one of the best clubs in the world. All professionals like to progress. The desire of playing European competitions, go to the national, sharing team with Olivier Giroud, Santi (Cazorla), (Mesut) Özil (were the reasons behind the move)."