Arsenal's out-of-favor striker, Lucas Perez, reportedly unhappy at his lack of playing time, has been linked with a move back to his home country Spain.

Manager Arsene Wenger, who spent over 17 million pounds to sign Perez from Deportivo La Coruna in August, has sympathy.

"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 on Tuesday.

Perez scored a hat trick in December in the 4-1 Champions League group stage win at Basel, but highlights like that are few. His one Premier League goal came in January against Bournemouth.

Despite limiting Perez's opportunities, Wenger would like him to remain at Emirates Stadium.

"I would love to keep him. We have to sit down together and see if he has a reasonable chance to play or not next season," he said.

Whether next season includes Champions League football for Arsenal remains doubtful, although Wenger has not given up hope.

His team plays away at Southampton on Wednesday needing a win to stay in contention for a top-four finish.

Sixth-placed Arsenal, which has three matches left, is six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, which has two to play.

"In the past five games, we've won four, so overall we've had a bad spell but we've recovered from it. We have to show now that we can be consistent until the end of the season," Wenger added.

Arsenal overcame an injury-depleted Manchester United on Sunday and Wenger hopes that momentum can continue.

"We have to use the squad in a very efficient way because we play four games of high intensity in 10 days. It will be important that everybody in the squad contributes at the right moment."

Perez, fit-again after a thigh injury, may just get another chance to shine.