Arsenal have been linked with a move for former attacker Carlos Vela in the past few weeks after an impressive La Liga campaign for Real Socieded.
Arsene Wenger is said to have activated a buy-back clause for Vela, believed to be around £3.5m, which was installed when he left England for Spain.
The Mexican was shipped out of North London in 2011 following a hugely disappointing seven year spell at the club.
He settled at Sociedad and in turn showed the talents that have seemingly persuaded Wenger to re-sign him after previously plucking him from Mexican side Guadalajara as a 16-year-old in 2006.
Last season was Vela’s career best as he plundered 21 goals in all competitions for the Spaniards as well as chipping in with 12 assists.
He has carved out quite a reputation for himself in La Liga as a not just a scorer of goals but of difficult goals as well as strikes against stubborn defences of which there are plenty in the Premier League.
The highlight of his season came when he bagged four goals in a league game against Celta Vigo.
This was a marked contrast to his Arsenal career which brought just three league goals in 29 appearances.
There were moments of quality from the little Mexican, mainly in the League Cup, in which he scored five goals in nine games albeit against the likes of Sheffield United.
Vela’s goal return last season was just one shy of Olivier Giroud and even more impressive considering he played as the support striker to Giroud’s national teammate Antoine Griezmann.
His stats show a marked improvement from days in England and it seems that Vela has finally found his form.
Creating 78 chances throughout the season and contributing 2.1 key passes per game show that Vela is a team player and will do what is best for his team instead of chasing individual glory.
His goals came mostly from inside the box where he shows a real strikers instinct, something Arsenal lacked at times last season.
He rarely wastes chances in a one on one situation nowadays, which was a constant source of frustration from his first spell in England.
His versatility to play across the whole front line as well as his ability to create multiple chances is something that does appeal.
It’s plain to see that the Mexican is a confidence player, like so many forwards and when a manager puts his trust in him like at Sociedad he performs.
The Mexican will not be in Brazil for the World Cup after claiming that he is not emotionally ready to deal with the tournament, which highlights his mental fragility.
If Vela is to return to Arsenal it is essential that Wenger shows complete belief in him from the start and gives him regular game time.
One of the major concerns I would have with his return is his work rate and in particular his defensive contribution.
Although he played more minutes than any of his Sociedad teammates last season, the English game is notoriously quicker and more demanding than that of the Spanish one.
The last thing Arsenal need is another player of Lukas Podolski’s variety, who drifts in and out of games far too often and struggles to complete 90 minutes.
To play as part of the front three at Arsenal you need to work hard to get up and down the field, covering the full back when not in possession in order for the formation to work.
But aside from that concern, I think bringing Vela back to the club is a smart move and for a club as economical as Arsenal it makes perfect business sense.
Vela’s stock has taken a huge upturn thanks to his exploits last season so to get a player of his calibre for a third of his market value would be great business.
The Mexican is a completely different person from the boy who arrived at the club in 2006 and his new found maturity and confidence could well see him make a successful career in England at the second time of asking.
Do you agree or disagree with Gary Taylor’s view about Vela? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.
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