Mexican prodigy Vela eyes move to Highbury

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The Arsenal target Carlos Vela believes moving to north London would be good for his career after spending a brief period on trial at Highbury.

Vela, who played a major role in the young Mexico side that won the World Under-17 Championship, has been training with the club after flying into London with his father, Enrique, late last week.

The 17-year-old is rated at around £2.5m but Arsenal will face stiff competition from a host of other top European clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Valencia, Juventus and possibly even Chelsea.

The player and his father were given a tour of the new Emirates Stadium, which Arsenal will move to next season, and were also guests at the home game with Manchester City last weekend.

Vela told a Mexican newspaper: "If my destiny is Arsenal then that would be very good for my career. I want to show everyone just how good the level of football is in Mexico."

Vela plays for Guadalajara and has been the subject of intense interest from Arsenal for some considerable time.

However, the manager, Arsène Wenger, was determined not to make a move for the youngster until he had been on trial with the club. Vela's agent, Eduardo Hernandez, confirmed: "It has been an excellent experience for Carlos at Arsenal so far. His family are enchanted by London and Thierry Henry has greeted him warmly.

"Arsenal would be a good club for him to join but we are going to listen to other proposals."

Reports in Mexico claim agents purporting to represent Chelsea have also been in contact and, although Arsenal remain favourites to sign him, it is clear the teenager will have other options.

Wenger insists his squad is just as strong as the one that won the Premiership title without tasting defeat two seasons ago.

"I feel we have as strong a squad now as when the team went undefeated," Wenger said. "But it's up to us to show it. When I see the quality I see in training, it's about how much we want to show it on the pitch.

"It's a very exciting time. We are questioned about the quality of the team we have - but that shows how strong we are."

Arsenal have struggled with injuries to key players this term, and have suffered from the summer sale of midfielder Patrick Vieira to Juventus.

Ashley Cole, Jose Antonio Reyes, Sol Campbell, Freddie Ljungberg and Alexander Hleb are all out with injury, while top scorer Henry made his first start since 24 August against Manchester City on Saturday after finally recovering from a groin injury.

But Wenger revealed he has little desire to bring in new players when the transfer window reopens in January. "We have been hit hard with injuries," the 56-year-old continued. "We lost our three games after the international breaks - those were very difficult away fixtures.

"And not only did we play away and lose after the breaks, but each time we lost a key player, which was a high price to pay. If someone I rate becomes available in the transfer market, I will look to make a move. But I'm not in a desperate need [to buy] and I am very confident we will come back."