Never has so much been expected from such a young player as is expected on Vela from the Arsenal fans this season.
Vela was signed in November 2005 from Chivas de Guadalajara for £2.5M. Initially the club remained quiet on the subject, mainly because Arsenal had signed a player that they could not play! Vela was 16 years old at the time and did not qualify for a work permit. The club decided to loan him out to Celta Vigo so that he gain first team experience and if a player plays for two years in Spain, they are entitled to a Spanish passport.
The Celta move was a disaster, as Celta had too many non-EU players, so Arsenal moved him onto UD Salamanca where he was an instant hit, scoring 8 goals in 31 appearances for Los Charros. Last season, Vela spent it with Osasuna in La Primera Liga, scoring 3 goals in 33 games.
Vela has moved up from representing Mexico at under 17 level where he won the Golden Boot in 2005 as well as helping Mexico win the under-17 World Championship, to having represented his homeland 7 times, scoring 4 goals.
Carlos is a striker in the mould of Eduardo, though he spent most of last season playing on the left flank for Osasuna. Wenger sees him as an out and out striker, though Vela would not be drawn on that. “The manager hasn’t said anything to me about that yet,” he added. But it isn’t a problem for me as Arsene Wenger can judge for himself what position is best for me to play. It is good to have the option of playing in both positions in case of injuries or if a player is missing. Above anything else I just want to play in the first team, it doesn’t matter what position.”
He has been likened to Hugo Sanchez, the greatest Mexican player of all time. Wenger has stated that he is part of the first-team squad for the forthcoming season giving him the number 12 shirt.
Arsenal fans will get a first glimpse of Vela this Saturday at Underhill where he will embark on the long trail to prove to fans worldwide that he is the real thing and not just another hopeful that will take years to develop and mature. With Eduardo out injured and van Persie still resting due to Euro 2008, Vela will feature in the next three Arsenal friendlies, before making his Emirates bow in the Emirates Cup against either Real Madrid or Juventus.
Vela comes to Arsenal with praise from Arsenal legend Henry, “Carlos is a very good player, as he arrived at Arsenal I was there, but I don’t know why he had to go to Spain to play more before he went back to Arsenal. He proved this year with Osasuna that he is a great player and that will be able to do important things for him in the English Premiership”.
In his interview with Arsenal.com Vela stated, “I am very proud to finally be here and I am truly very happy. Yes I’m nervous because I will meet new people, with a different language. I know everything will be difficult, but I’m very motivated and delighted to arrive I have been waiting three years for this moment and now I am here I will work very hard to earn my place in the first-team and I hope to be at this club for a very long time.
“The players have received me very well and been very welcoming. Of course, it takes a few days to get used to everything new but, little by little, I will find my place and be ready to perform for the team.”
“I think that I achieved the targets I had there because I had more minutes on the pitch, gained more experience and today I am here at Arsenal, which was the ultimate aim.”
Vela is a confident lad, is coming to a club that gives youngsters the opportunity to shine. Given a run in the team he will set the Premier alight with his skills and goal scoring ability. Arsene’s problem is that he will have five strikers to keep happy next season, but that also means if you are not performing there are three others waiting to take your place.
Once Vela and Nasri get into full swing alongside Fabregas and Walcott, fans all over the world will be drooling at the entertainment and goals coming from Arsene’s new “Four Musketeers”, four entertainers that will take over from Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and Vieira.
Arsene Wenger has announced a 24 man squad for the game against Barnet due to take place at Underhill this Saturday.
As well as regular first team squad players, Almunia, Sagan, Clichy, Walcott, Denilson and Bendtner, two new boys are incluided Aaron Ramsey and Mexican whizz-kid Carlos Vela.
The full squad is:
Manuel ALMUNIA (GK)
Vito MANNONE (GK
Wojciech SZCZESNY (GK)
Full match preview to appear on Friday.