It’s fair to say plenty of eyebrows were raised back in the summer when Arsenal announced they’d be allowing Jack Wilshere to leave the club on loan for a season.
But four months later, we’re already seeing how smart a decision that was from both Arsene Wenger and Wilshere himself.
The 24-year-old has already played more minutes this season than he had in his last two campaigns combined with the Gunners.
And such is the success of Wilshere’s move, it’s reported that the French boss will try something similar with another fringe player at the Emirates, Lucas Perez.
The striker arrived from Deportivo La Coruna late in August, and aside from an injury which ruled him out for several weeks, he’s generally fitted in quite well.
But starting places have been few and far between so far this season, following the emergence of Alexis Sanchez in a central role and the increased competition for a wide-spot.
However, the Spaniard has still managed to net five goals and contribute four assists since arriving in north London. Not bad for a player with limited minutes to express himself.
A temporary move away from the Emirates might be just what 28-year-old Perez needs, and there’s one club in particular who would certainly benefit from his services.
Step forward, Southampton.
Last week the Saints were hit with the news that their main striker, Charlie Austin, would face up to four months out on the sidelines, following an injury picked up against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League.
That leaves Claude Puel incredibly short of options up-front, with both Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle leaving St. Mary’s in the summer.
And with the January transfer window just around the corner, the Saints boss is expected to add at least one striker to his ranks.
Perez boasts plenty of similar attributes to Austin. Despite being relatively short, he’s a nightmare for defenders, and won’t give them any time on the ball.
Like Austin, he has a real eye for goal, too, as he proved last season in La Liga, netting 17 strikes for his former club.
That subsequently persuaded Arsenal boss Wenger to part with roughly £17m for Perez’s signature.
And while a long-term deal looks unlikely, given that the forward has only just arrived in north London, Perez would certainly be a solid enough replacement for Austin for the remainder of the season.
Of course, he’d also be getting more chances in and around Southampton’s first-team, meaning should a deal go ahead, he’ll return to the Gunners in the summer with plenty of Premier League experience under his belt.
Traders make it 5/2 for a move to go ahead, and we reckon that’s excellent vale, all things considered.
What do fans think? Would this move suit all parties? Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing