In an increasingly closed environment such as that of football clubs, shootings as public as the one Lucas Pérez suffered after the game of his team, Alavés, against Atlético, which he watched from home, are surprising. At the press conference, the coach, Abelardo, was asked about the absence in the call of one of his most decisive footballers, and the best paid of the squad. After adding one point from the last 18, and two behind the relegation red line, the Asturian coach was not for trifles: “My focus is on my players. At Alavés my idea is courage, courage, commitment and giving everything for this club. And whoever does not want to do so does not deserve to join this team ”, he settled.
Although the team needs a footballer of his characteristics, who last season scored 11 goals before confinement, seven in consecutive days, Lucas is out. The performance of the Coruña striker caught the attention of Barcelona, who considered incorporating him into the process in which he opted for Braithwaite. Shortly before, Villarreal had asked about Lucas, but Alavés referred him to the termination clause of 20 million euros.
The honeymoon was twisted with confusion. He did not score in his eight games after the return and the team entered a disastrous dynamic that complicated a permanence that seemed tied. This campaign adds four goals, three of them from penalties. Since Abelardo’s return to the team in January, he has become familiar with the bench, and in recent weeks he has been at the center of rumors about a serious fracture in the locker room, even with ramifications away from the ball.
“The atmosphere is fantastic. It seems wrong to me that false rumors are given importance and that they may have more force than the truth, “Abelardo said on Saturday, hours after the club issued a statement announcing legal action against the publication of” absolutely interested information. , unfounded and false, which in many cases go beyond the professional sphere, affecting aspects of a personal nature ”.
Sources familiar with the interlinings of the Alava booth confirm the dissensions, which would even extend to discrepancies between the heavyweights of the squad. They also point out that in recent days there have been talks to settle the disputes and go all to one in the 10 remaining games. The objective is to avoid relegation to Second Division just in the year of the club’s centenary, a catastrophe that would affect footballers with contracts for future campaigns. At the forefront of this task, not only Abelardo works, but also a renowned sports and business coach, Joseba del Carmen, a former ertzaina who also collaborates with the golfer Jon Rahm.
Abelardo’s words suggest that Lucas Pérez, who has one year left on his contract, does not fit into this reconstruction work. For the footballer it is a crossroads. On the way to 33 years, he arrived in Vitoria in the summer of 2019 after Alavés paid 2.5 million to West Ham United. There Lucas settled his failed adventure in English football, which began three years earlier with a transfer to Arsenal of 20 million after two dazzling campaigns at Deportivo. Nothing had been easy for him, a boy raised by his grandparents, a neighborhood fuguilla who dazzled in grassroots football, but who did not receive the call from the club of his heart until at the age of 26 he rescued him from Greek football, where he had arrived after an uneven journey through the quarries of Alavés, Atlético and Rayo, and several years breaking stone in the Ukrainian league.
On the day of his blue and white debut, in Riazor, he scored and celebrated with a kick on a fence. There was courage there. He became the idol he always dreamed of. His departure to the Premier earned him a contract that assured him 12 million euros net in four seasons and that he enforced until he left West Ham to move to Vitoria.
Expansive, affectionate, but also with a rebellious point that not everyone understands, Lucas Pérez is, in football terms, a cannon up front. Incisive, concrete, rogue, with a lot of street and a privileged left foot. “Now you’re rich,” a neighbor told him when he was leaving a game in Riazor. “I’m not rich, I’m rich,” he replied. In Galicia, being rich is being nice, adorable. It does not seem that he is how Abelardo sees him now.