Eduardo II. Carlos Vela is on his way back

By Tony Attwood

Last year Flamini, this year Vela.

But ooops, sorry, the end of the headline got missed off – it should have been “Carlos Vela is on his way back – according to reports.”

Last season when the word first went around the Flamini was on his way back I was disbelieving – and I guess I would have been just as disbelieving about Vela this time round had it not been for Flamini’s return.  Maybe this is the new style of loan – you sell the players give them experience and then buy them back.  Nice plan.

So, maybe…

Of course I don’t really know if the story is true, but here’s the tale.

Arsenal put a clause in Vela’s contract when he left which allows Arsenal to re-sign him.   According to those awfully nice and knowledgeable journalists who cover football, the president of Real Sociedad, has said this. And he knows, cos Vela is at his club.

Carlos Vela played for Arsenal from 2005 to 2011, did a lot of loans during that time, spent some time with us, and scored some outrageous chipped goals as he came up through the ranks.  But he wasn’t quite deemed to be at the level expected so he eventually moved on.  But Carlos Vela has excelled at Sociedad since joining them, initially on loan, in 2011.  The word on the street as they say, is that there is a 4 million Euro buy back clause in the contract.

So we are told that Jokin Aperribay, the President of Sociedad had said on the Cadena SER radio station, “Arsenal have informed us that Vela would be with them next season.”

Actually the report I saw said the President was “quoted as saying”.  Goodness knows who actually said what.

Apart from all his clubs Carlos Vela has played for Mexico since 2007 and played in the South Africa world cup.  But in 2011 he started to refuse to play, and he has refused to play in this world cup.  So one up to Carlos in my book.  A man who refuses to be tainted by international football must have something going for him.

What actually happened with international football has something to do with his suspension on 21 September 2010 for six months after he and another player attended a party.  He did play again for Mexico in February 2011 but was criticised in the press, and Vela since then has refused all subsequent call ups.

So, what of his history as a club player?

He came to Arsenal in November 2005 for £125,000 and signed a five year deal.  But of course didn’t have his Spanish passport  at that time, which would have allowed him to play in England, so he started the tour of clubs on loan.

He went to Celta de Vigo, but then came back without playing.  He then went to Salamanca and had more success.   Then Osasuna, until in May 2008 he got a work permit and joined the first team.

It was around this time that Wenger suggested that Vela was not an attacking midfielder or a winger but a player more akin to Eduardo prior to the wreckage of his career by Martin Taylor.  And so Vela played his first game as a sub in the Premier League on 30 August 2008.  On 23 September 2008 he played in one of the classic Arsenal cup games of modern times against Sheffield Utd.  Vela scored three, one of which is currently rated in the Arsenal Greatest 50 goals.  It was Arsenal’s youngest ever side.

Progress seemed to be quite good until 28 January 2011 when he was off on loan again to WBA and then on 15 August 2011 he was loaned to Real Sociedad and notoriously, Andre Santos took over his shirt number.  That was it, and Vela was transferred to Real Sociedad on 17 July 2012 for €3 million.

Things have gone well.  Vela won La Liga Player of the Month for December 2013 and in May this year Vela gave the first announcement that Arsenal could re-sign him for €4 million.  He admitted he had asked to leave Arsenal but said that he was more mature these days and never said never to anyone.

Here’s his club record

Club Season Appearances Goals
Salamanca 2006/7 31 8
Osasuna 2007/8 33 3
Arsenal 2008/9 29 6
2009/10 20 2
2010/1 13 3
Total 62 11
West Bromwich Albion 2011/2 8 2
Real Sociedad 2012/3 37 12
2013/4 36 14
2014/5 52 21
Total 124 48
Career Total 259 71

So could this be the striker everyone is shouting for?  If so, AAA and their Black Scarf friends will be awfully agitated, as they want someone costing 100 times what Vela would cost, so it will rather jolly just to make that happen.  I do enjoy it when the AAA gets all uppity.

But while I openly admit that a lot of the time my guesses as to who would make it and who not, are wildly inaccurate, maybe I might be proven right with Vela.  I always loved his style and approach and thought he could be one of our star players.

Carlo Vela as Eduardo II.  What a thought.



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25 Replies to “Eduardo II. Carlos Vela is on his way back”

  1. Oh yes the mysterious AAA want someone who costs millions. No, what we all want is super quality, according to Wenger that’s what we’re buying from now on, and if he costs nothing or 40 million it makes no difference as long as he does a great job.

    As for Vela he seems to have improved immensely but maybe that’s because he’s more suited to the Spanish league. Also he had issues with living in England so unless he’s changed, which is very possible, those issues may appear again. He could be a great signing but he could also reap us some financial reward as I believe we get 50% when he’s sold on.

  2. If confirmed, this report is exciting because it means Vela WANTS to re-join Arsenal. He is not being press-ganged into doing so.
    One minor worry is that the EPL is far more physical than the Spanish Liga. On the other hand, Vela has more experience and must know his capabilities.
    When I recall some of his outrageous goals for Arsenal, his obvious maturity since leaving and the fact that he is keen to return, the outlook for him and for us, looks bright indeed.

  3. The argument that Vela is more suited to the Spanish league is often trotted out but doesn’t really hold up when you look at his experiences at Salamanca and Osusana. His form has steadily improved with age and it seems more likely that a more responsible attitude to his game and regular starts are the more likely reasons for the improvement. As to whether he would be a success in the EPL, who knows, but for the money he looks like a worthwhile option as we could certainly use his versatility.

  4. Rupert Cook.

    Why do you say the ‘mysterious AAA’ ?

    Don’t you even know who your friends are?

  5. I would like to see Carlos back. Facing Carlos, Giroud, Ozil, Jack, Ramsey and Cazorla what chance will defenders have?

  6. Carlos is Ok I suppose. He’s cheap to buy, proven record in Spain, retired from international football, nice lad who’s hardly likely to get caught in a hotel with a slapper, and despite his performances was quite popular with our fans. But unless he’s toughened right up I don’t see him as alternative option to Giroud. Play him with Giroud, yes, but instead of, no. Just my opinion of course, and what do I know of such things.

  7. Vela always combined well with Bendtner when they were at Arsenal. Vela has a very cool approach in front of goal. I’m sure he will be an asset playing in the front of midfield with Giroud. I would still prefer a tough Bony type up front with Giroud.

  8. I don’t get it.

    It’s a no brainer – someone who scores 20+ goals in La Liga for 3 million is a no brainer. In the past when we bought great buys for 3 million it was considered genious. So what’s the matter now?

    We can play him with Giroud; as a sub; if (god forbid) Giroud is injured; who cares?

    How can anybody with a functioning brain not like this idea is beyond me.

    It also means that it will not be “instead of” a 40 million + buy; it proves that we did a great business when we put in that buy-back clause; it’s just a great move with no downsides.

    Of course some people have reverse logic so anything is possible …

  9. I’d be very happy to see him back. He’s fairly pacy and calm in front of goal.
    If the reports are true, it seems as though the original deal with sociedad was pretty effectively an extension of the original loan deal. Sold cheap but with Arsenal retaining some form of pseudo ownership of the player.

  10. TommieGun,

    I agree with you that opposition to deals like the rumoured (important clarification) doesn’t make sense but I totally get it.

    Gone are those days when fans cheer their teams for shrewd deals. I recall the time, not too long ago, when we all anticipate the next rough diamond that AW will get on the cheap and then polish for our enjoyment. Or the established star that he would acquire at a great price. Since the arrival of Abramovich, things have been distorted. Couple that with the reality that many teams have now taken on board Arsenal’s policy of scouting for emerging talents which means such talents are priced higher (demand and supply).

    Today’s fans see that most of the good players carry exorbitant prices and conclude that unless a player costs an arm and a leg, then they can’t be good enough.

    Going back to my Ozil ‘obsession’, we got a player for £42.5 million at a time that our team was very stable and doing well and we got told that he “lifted our spirits”; meanwhile the previous season we bought Cazorla for about a 3rd of that at a time when we’ve just lost our captain and best box to box midfielder and the world hardly noticed. Despite his 2nd season being worse than his first, he still contributed more to Arsenal this season than the “spirit lifter”.

    Whenever I get a deal on my shopping, I always feel good. It is only in today’s football that people feel better about paying more than paying less. It doesn’t make sense to rational people but I totally get it.

  11. TommieGun

    Have to agree. No brainer.

    Maybe he didn’t excel with us but conversely he never looked bad. He always looked like it ‘could’ happen for him.

    Older, wiser, more confident, perhaps stronger.

    If he returns, and of course we all know it is a big if, I expect him to shine, and what’s more, as TG says, I cant see it being instead of any other player we may or may not have lined up already.

  12. Bootoomee:

    RIGHT !!! We want big names and expensive players but more importantly we want players that deliver more than Arsenal pay for and we don’t want hugely inflated prices.

    Buying bargain does not mean buying cheap players. It means taking opportunities (like the one with Santi) to get a player the team needed with a lower price.

    A recent financial report rated Cazorla at around 30 millions. (Ramsey also around. Wilshere mid of 20s)
    Giroud also got a value of 20 something millions.

    So the team is already filled with good to excellent players. People do not realise until they see a price tag put on the person.

    AS for the case of Vela. It is quite stupid not to sign him again. One might not even get a descent reserve player with 4 millions, not to mention a good striker.

    Some people talked about getting Loic Remy. He would be a good buy if he really has a 8 million release clause but with the option to sign Vela at 4 millions, there is no point signing Remy.

    I do not their current level are much different and Vela should have more potential. At least he is a full two years younger!!! If things good wrong with him. Arsenal can still sell him after a season. It would be quite easy to sell him at 8 millions anyway.

    After letting Bendtner go, the team have only Giroud as the proper striker and Sanago is just there to try his luck at the moment.

    Even with Vela/ Remy, Arsenal can still get aother striker on board. Walcott could make up the number but he is injured and the team need him badly for the flanks unless a very good winger joins.

    Wenger will look to sign a “big name” at the front. Either for the wing or at the striker position. If he is a stiker, Walcott will remain as no.1 right flank. If that “big name” is a winger, Walcott will be share the flank and serve as a reserve for striker.

    I do not see Wegner signing two 25+ million attaking player this season.

  13. I liked Vela for his smile. When he scored one of his lobbed goals he had that special smile on his face. A smile that could make the sun come from behind the clouds and stop the rain in an instance.

    Maybe his problem was being too young at the time and oh those international matches for Mexico. It seemed as if Mexico played an international match each Wednesday and he always came back on Friday, completely knackered and jet lagged and unable to play. It was as almost a fixed item in the AW press conference on Friday morning: “Vela still has to come back from Mexico so we don’t know if he would be ready to join the team”
    I hope that if he comes he will keep the national team of Mexico as far away from him as possible.
    I somewhere read that Atletico Madrid was considering him as a replacement for the departure of Costa. Of course that might be just a journalists invention but if true does say something about him.

    The other day I was watching a video of the goals scored by his teammate Griezmann. I noticed Vela with a handful of assists also. Just checked it in La Liga 16 goals alone and 12 assists in 35 matches. That is a goal contribution of almost 1 goal for each start.

    Come on Wenger give us back his smile 😉 🙂 Or else… 😉

  14. I like Carlos, reminds me of Messi when he runs with the ball. If he comes back, i would love to see those outrageous goals. I remember that sheff wed game and the running step over by the Ox.

  15. I have seen Vela in a few games on the Spanish football program during last season. In my opinion the most striking difference since Vela was at Arsenal previously is that he is now physically much stronger. I have seen him take some really rough treatment and just get up and come back for more. The talent is still there as well.

  16. Talking about Eduardo I: he is in Brazil playing for Croatia against the country he was born. He probably will sign both national anthems tomorrow.
    I think it is great to see him there. If it wouldn’t have been for that horrible day in February …. f*ck I still get angry about it just thinking about it. What might have been…

  17. Vela’s return will also add speed to our attack. Where it can frustrate those who want AW to strengthen the attack is that it may be all the business he does in the department.

    If it is, I for one will be intrigued with how he measures up to the implied potential AW see in his second coming. Interestingly, Atheletico Madrid is reported to be want him as a replacement to the departing Diego Costa. If so, I am sure, but for our historical relationship with Vela and our clause in his sales contract, had we shown interest in his purchase after his last season’s performance, we would have been quoted £25million or more.

  18. Walter
    I also heard that Eduardo was going to sing both anthems. Very, very touching if he does.
    Re Carlos. Not forgetting that the less we spend on him the more we have for other positions. It’s becoming win/win almost.

  19. We still don’t know if Vela will come back of course. Any deal hinges on him agreeing to come back and if Atletico are also looking to sign him, I doubt we can/will offer much more money.

    When I first heard of our interest in re-signing Vela, I was unsure. He was a talent no doubt, but reportedly had attitude problems, late night parties, forgetting his passport before traveling to a CL game etc.

    I still went on youtube and did the obligatory scouting. His stats speak for themselves, and while Youtube won’t tell us the complete picture, Vela’s movement reminded me of Sergio Aguero. He’s also bulked up and looks much stronger. In my mind, if he’s available for 3m or so, we should buy him. If it were any other player with a different name and a larger price tag people would be salivating at signing him.

    Now as for another attacker. A ‘world class’ striker. I am left unmoved by the strikers that are on offer this year. Last season we had Cavani and Falcao. Even Higuain. Those were strikers I could get excited about. But who now? Balotelli? Mandzukic?

    Here’s what I would rather see happen. We sign Vela and someone like Remy, and then sign Fabregas. I think that boosts our offensive potential and depth much more than signing someone like Balotelli (the latest rumour) along with Vela.

    Of course don’t know what the finances are, or indeed what the issues might be with bringing Fabregas back (Darren Dein maybe?) But it is what I’d like to see happen.

  20. @ Allan – that’s exactly what I was afraid of. In La Liga, unless it’s a “grudge match” (i.e. Classico, or Sevilla-Betis) – the fouls are not half as violent as they are in england. There is usually much less malice involved and for sure refs offer much, much better protection.

    Light-weight players (Gervinho comes to mind) are less physically able to withstand such fouls.

    Having said that, Vela has improved considerably and I think (hope?) that there is some redemption in his soul…

  21. Perfectly happy if Vela decides to return, always liked him at Arsenal and as mentioned already, he is very calm in front of goal. Could he be that elusive fox in the box we’ve been looking for? I can’t imagine he will be the only signing made this summer, I honestly expect to see another CF added to the squad. I don’t see a problem with adding depth to the squad, and a pacy, proven (in Spain)goal scorer would be extremely handy from the bench, or as cover for more established first team players.

  22. Vela is Mexican and has been trained in that system. I saw himplay for the national team in Mexico and also at AFC way back when. Here are his assets and weaknesses:

    1)Very intelligent and skillful ball control,
    2)Capable of slipping into openings like Eduardo, a fox-in-the-box type player
    3)Strong on either wing and but predominantly left-footed,
    4)plays with his heart and is a player who enjoys his Football, it is more than a job to him,
    5)His famous lobs prove that his close control and shooting are first rate.

    a)Being a Mexican footballer, he is very individualistic and sometimes selfish,and has difficulty being a true team player,
    b)His forte is speed and finesse, NOT strength and hold up play like Giroud,
    c)He is sometimes invisible in games but has a great footballing brain,
    d)He is an emotional player and can easily become discouraged and distracted.

    Would a 2nd sting at AFC be a positive thing….definitely. However why would Sociedad part with such a high scoring player unless they need the money? I know that they are in financial trouble like most LaLiga clubs but will Aw be able to pull another Cazorla type deal….anything is possible?

  23. If AW can increase the squad for that money, AND with a player who already knows Arsenal, well i can only say great. This of course leaves more money for wages, and for any other players we may need too.

  24. Vela for £4m is a bargain but he is basically cover for Walcott (not a bad thing to have). Likewise Remy for £8m as cover for Giroud is a bargain.
    But the target should be to improve squad depth AND add players like Reus or Müller. A right back would be good to provide competition for Jenkinson. Though it’s amazing how poor your defence can be if the opposition is too scared to attack it.

  25. @Shard, we ain’t signing Fabregas, he’ll be in blue next season. That’s now a done deal it seems. Oh well. I think it would have been clever to get him back as he would certainly be useful when the usual injuries occur. Maybe we have too many midfielders, if so I’d have sold Carzola who is not as good as Cesc and older.

    I find it unbelievable that Wenger didn’t want Cesc back. It seems we’re quite prepared to drag back players when they’re past their peak, i.e Henry, Campbell, Flamini and Lehmann and yet when a past player is at his peak we don’t bother. Worse we let a rival take him.

    I really hope we intend to make some big signings because Chelsea are looking formidable with Matic, Oscar and Fabregas and if they get Costa too we may suffer an 8-0 drubbing next season.

    As for strikers maybe we let Cesc go so we could fork out on Falcao. Is that a dream? About time we dug into our vast reserves sitting in the bank.

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