With no date set for Theo Walcott’s return to the Arsenal team for next season, and the club apparently still weighing up a move for Loic Remy to fill two needs in the team’s attack, why not opt for Carlos Vela?
The Mexican may not be to every Arsenal fan’s liking after his disappointing first spell in north London, but this is an altogether different player, one who has been allowed to mature and afforded the kind of trust at Real Sociedad that was absent from Arsene Wenger’s coaching.
There was rightly a lot of excitement about Vela prior to his initial arrival at Arsenal, having spent all of his time in European football away on loan on the continent. His talent at the U17 World Championship in 2005 was clear, while his exploits in La Liga for Osasuna in particular left many fans eager to see the forward added to the team at the Emirates.
Carlos Vela’s time at Arsenal can be summarised as being nothing more than a Carling Cup cult figure. He performed well in the domestic cup competition but failed to transfer that cutting edge in front of goal to higher-profiled matches, though that should speak wholly of the lack of chances given to the youngster, who was constantly in and out of the team.
Vela’s form at Real Sociedad over the past three seasons is a better representation of what he’s all about: exceptionally quick, incredibly talented, and an attacking partnership with Antoine Griezmann that became one of the most eye-catching away from the top three teams.
Regular football in Spain has seen Vela develop into the kind of player Arsenal are desperately in need of. He’s one of the star players in the Basque country, but for now, provided this deal goes through, he’d be a squad addition, although a very good option to have and one who could certainly earn a regular place in the starting XI.
At this stage, there isn’t too much Remy can offer Arsenal that Vela can’t. Both would offer the pace Arsenal lacked for much of last season, while being able to chip in with either goals or assists on a regular basis. The £3.5 million for Vela is a bargain that really shouldn’t be passed up by the club. Unlike the case with Fabregas, where people have unbelievably been able to condone the club passing up the option to re-sign him, Vela is very much needed. Whether or not he plays in place of Olivier Giroud through the middle – and size and quality aside, Arsenal should be bringing in more than just Vela to address that position – the Mexican is the perfect alternate to Walcott on the right side of attack.
There really shouldn’t be too much of a debate on this one. It wasn’t too long ago that fans were on Aaron Ramsey’s back over a prolonged dip in form. Like the Welshman, Vela has proven to have kicked on in his career and would be a great option to have in the current team. The transfer fee means Arsenal aren’t really taking a risk on this one. There’s no issue about him getting regular games this time around, as Arsenal’s constant injury problems leave spaces that need to be filled in the starting XI.
Time and time again over the past few weeks people have described this move as a no-brainer – and that’s exactly what it is. It’s chump change for a club who are boasting the wealth from an accumulation of Champions League revenue, television income and new sponsorship deals.
There’s nothing romantic clouding the judgement on this one. Arsenal very much need Vela going into next season. If not him, then a player in a similar mould. But there’s no need to scour Europe when a high-quality bargain signing is on the table.