Over the course of the summer, we’ll be tracking the most realistic potential signings for Arsenal and publishing our profiles and assessment of each footballer.
Let’s play with hypotheticals. If an Arsenal fan sees the club capture the FA Cup while simultaneously demanding reinforcements at striker (fair enough), and then comes across an available forward from La Liga who fired 16 times in 35 appearances with 12 assists, how do they feel? Those are Benzema numbers, but this footballer doesn’t play for Real Madrid. What if (and this is crazy, right?) he’s available for £3.5 million? All of a sudden, it seems any Arsenal fan would be foaming at the mouth to pull the trigger and buy him.
So why is nobody excited about Carlos Vela? Maybe it’s because he never developed the first time he was in London. Maybe it has something to do with the multiple loans that reaped little benefit. But not one of those reasons is why fans should feel at least some trepidation about this signing.
Vela had a great year this past season and a solid one with Sociedad the year before. But this is a player that is worse than untested in the Premier League; he’s failed. Unable to stick in for selection in North London, is this the path Arsenal should really be treading when looking to build on the progress of the last campaign?
There have been worse ideas.
Despite the fact that he’s- at best- a toss-up as far as handling the Premier League, he does have quality. His love of chipped goals is definitely easy on the eyes, but his movement off the ball is also excellent. He won’t create chance after chance for himself, but Vela excels at finding teammates as they crash into the box. Ramsey, anyone? The Mexican lacks the physicality of Giroud and an attempt to deploy him as a pivot in that manner would likely not be fruitful. However, his link-up play and movement is dynamic and he’s quite capable with the ball at his feet, meaning the speedy customers on the flanks and forward-roaming midfielders could feast on the candy he’s able to pass out.
Should Vela sign and Arsenal seem to have filled their need for striker support, what will that mean for the rest of the window? Will Wenger still look for a marquee signing like Di Maria or Griezmann, or will the rest of the kitty be spent on defenders and keepers? Fans will cry out that Vela is not much of an improvement on Giroud and there’s a case to be made there, though it must be remembered that Arsenal were top in January despite only deploying the Frenchman up until that point.
As far as transfer rumours go, this one seems to be picking up steam thanks to remarks from Real Sociedad’s president about Vela’s imminent departure.The bottom line is that the Vela signing isn’t one that would win acclaim, but can only fairly be judged against the rest of the transfer window. And for that, fans will have to wait and see.