Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has apologised to striker Lucas Perez after his lack of game time in his first season at the club.
The Spanish forward signed from Deportivo La Coruna last summer for £17.1m but struggled to establish himself, making just 22 appearances in all competitions.
The Evening Standard have reported that Wenger apologised to Perez in a meeting having handed new signing Alexandre Lacazette the number 9 shirt without informing its then 'owner'.
The relationship between Wenger and Perez remains fractious, and the Standard claim that the striker could be set for an exit this summer. Wenger has reportedly said that he will be sold if Arsenal receive an offer of £13.4m.
Despite some impressive performances for the Gunners last season, the 28-year-old was rarely given the opportunity to build any momentum.
Following his hat-trick against Basel in the Champions League, Perez was only a substitute for the Premier League game against West Ham days later.
Wenger admitted in May that he "feels sorry" for the disillusioned forward, and with the arrival of Lacazette it seems likely that Perez may have to look elsewhere for regular first team football.
“He's a top quality striker but I couldn't give him the games he wants and deserves, I confess that. I feel sorry for him on that front,” Wenger said.
Perez, meanwhile, last month openly expressed his disappointment over his treatment at the club: "They [Arsenal] are not behaving well with me," he said. "To take the shirt number without telling me and to give it to a companion — it seems to me that it is the last straw.
"I can't continue this way. I have given everything, but that has not been reciprocated, so I can't stand it any longer. I want to leave and be happy."