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“As if we had Messi!”

Is it THE transfer of this transition period? A first division striker with CL experience hires in the 3rd division – and also pays his fee himself.

Deportivo La Coruña fans have had little to smile about in recent years. On the contrary! In terms of sport, the former top club has pretty much disappeared, namely in the third Spanish league.

A remarkable fall when you consider that the proud Galicians won the league between 1995 and 2004, won two cups and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League after one of the most legendary comebacks ever.

But those times are long gone. The club went bankrupt in 2014, was relegated from LaLiga to the Segunda División and has now gone down one floor. Nevertheless, the euphoria around the Estadio Riazor is huge at the moment. The reason for this is 34 years old and his name is Lucas Pérez.

The former Arsenal striker has been playing for his heart club again for a few weeks. He came from the first division club Cadiz and was keen to strike again for Deportivo. So much so that he paid half of the transfer fee of one million euros out of his own pocket, according to corresponding Spanish media reports. He feels “the joy of a child returning to his family,” Pérez wrote on Instagram.

Deportivo La Coruña: Lucas Pérez paid part of his fee

A transfer that electrified fans, 23,000 of whom flocked to the stadium against Unionistas (3-0) in mid-January to see Pérez in action on his return. Her darling promptly put together a double pack and later said that he would “never forget” this reception. One commentator promptly cheered: “It’s like having Messi on our team.”

Pérez also netted in the next two games and promptly received the captaincy from coach Óscar Cano.

For Pérez it is the fourth engagement at Deportivo. Born in A Coruña, he has been a fan of the club since childhood. There, the versatile attacker developed into one of Spain’s top strikers in the 2010s, earning a move to Arsenal FC with a 17-goal season in 2015/16. At that time, it cost a whopping 20 million euros.

Deportivo’s Lucas Pérez was a candidate at FC Barcelona

With the Gunners, he found it difficult to fight for a regular place. After all: He sniffed the Champions League air and proved his accuracy there with three goals in three group games. He returned to La Coruna on loan in 2017, and his CV also includes stations at Dynamo Kyiv, PAOK Saloniki, West Ham United and Deportivo Alavés.

So now he’s back in his home country and has what he needs most: the feel-good factor and the certainty that he’s needed. Pérez was a preferred candidate for FC Barcelona in 2020 looking for an alternative for the injury-ridden storm at the time. Pérez, however, gave the Catalans a basket and explained it mark: “I didn’t want to make another misstep where I didn’t get chances like I did in England.”

He will certainly get chances in the coming weeks. Deportivo are currently fourth in the Priméra División RFEF table, four points behind the top of the table. A deficit that can certainly be made up with the “Messi” of the league. So that the fairy-tale return also has a happy ending in the form of ascent.

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