Carlos Vela to Arsenal: Transfer explained - why are Arsenal making a move for their former striker Vela?

Vela left Arsenal in 2012 after failing to secure a first team spot, but what has made Arsenal move for the Mexican for a second time?

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The Independent Football

With Arsenal preparing to move for their former striker Carlos Vela after informing Real Sociedad that they will activate a £3.5m buy-back clause, why would the Mexican want to return to the team that he grew frustrated with at the lack of first-team opportunities?

The first factor is Arsenal are clearly short on firepower in attack. Olivier Giroud looked jaded and in need of a rest on more than one occasion last season, and with very little support coming from Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo, the Frenchman had to carry the burden of leading Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge.

That challenge eventually faded away despite the club topping the Premier League table for longer than any other club last season, and had Arsene Wenger signed a striker in January, things could’ve been very different come the end of the season.

With Bendnter now departed, the Gunners are even shorter on striker options, but they have been heavily linked with moves for a number of strikers around Europe that include Mario Balotelli, Alvaro Morata and Loic Remy.

While Giroud sometimes frustrated last season, he still improved on his debut season as he scored 16 goals in 36 Premier League games, with an additional six coming in cup competition. The likelihood is that Vela would be an alternative to Giroud to share the workload, rather than a replacement to provide more goals than the France international, given that their goal records are very similar other the past two years – Vela also scored 16 league goals last term.


But if the reports that Wenger will still move for another striker prove true, Vela could quickly find himself shipped out to the left-wing once again, having become an option on the flank during his first spell at the club.

With questions remaining over Lukas Podolski’s future at the Emirates and without an out-and-out left winger in his squad, Wenger could look to play Vela out wide to accommodate both Giroud and Vela.

The Mexicanm has prospered in a partnership with Antoine Griezmann at Sociedad, where the two regularly interchange positions to keep the oppositions defence second guessing. With Arsenal’s midfield constantly on the move, this ploy would certainly suit the side’s style of play, but whether Vela would be willing to become a permanent figure on the wing remains uncertain.

There is the factor of proving that he has what it takes to succeed at Arsenal. Having been ear-marked as the next big thing to come through the Gunners’ ranks, fans were disappointed when Vela left after he failed to reach the highs that were expected of him.

Personally, Vela will be determined to prove his doubters wrong and become a success in the Premier League. Given that Sociedad are very unlikely to challenge the big-three in Spain – Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona – the allure of moving to a title-challenging side will certainly appeal to any mid-table side given that Sociedad finished the season in seventh, 31 points off champions Altetico.

Vela doesn’t have the distractions of international football either, having not played for Mexico since he was given a six-month ban for attending a party following a match against Colombia in 2011. He has toyed with the prospect of returning to the national side after being repeatedly called-up to the squad only to turn any approach down, and ruled himself out of the World Cup earlier this year despite talks with officials from the Mexican Football Federation.

But is a move for Vela really a move for Vela? There are beliefs that Arsenal might be exercising their contract clause in order to resell Vela and make a handsome profit. With the fee for Vela’s return around the £3.5m mark, Arsenal could expect to sell Vela for near £10m immediately, which would represent a handsome return for very little work.

Could Griezmann also be on his way to Arsenal?

There are also claims that he could be offered straight back to Sociedad as part of a structured move for Griezmann, with Wenger confirming in the past that he is continuously monitoring the France international with a view to making a move for the 23-year-old. Should this prove to be the case, questions would arise whether Vela would agree to joining Arsenal only to leave immediately, especially if it was to go back to Sociedad where relations could be strained as a result.

The likelihood is that even if Arsenal attempted the switch, they would end up keeping hold of Vela and paying the full valuation for Greizmann, which could increase this summer if he puts in a strong showing at the World Cup. With Franck Ribery ruled out of the entire tournament, Laurent Blanc has a decision to make in who to start on the left of midfield. Griezmann is certainly an option, and could even be a dark horse for the find of the World Cup if he enjoys his time in South America.