Welcome to the silly season everyone.
Yes its Xmas time for football fans everywhere, as long as your normal Xmas involves frothing at the mouth over even the slightest mention of a footballer being linked to the club, of course. And being Xmas, there is a certain commercialisation that comes with it nowadays. There’s big money to be made. Not only in footballing terms; but from many business types, such as those reporting on the window. Those in the business of teasing you by telling you they have found a present hidden under the stairs at Arsene Wenger’s house, but without opening it can tell you exactly what it is and how much it cost and then sneaking out of his house without anyone knowing they were even there.
This window will be no exception, as we already know there has been a raft of players placed on speculation rotation. The thing that I wanted to drill down on in todays’ blog is the talk of former players coming back to the Emirates. Only those of you who have been waiting patiently in a parallel dimension on Malaysia airlines flight 370 will be unaware of the stories circulating in regards to one Cesc Fabregas. That story is now both dusty and irrelevant. There is, however, a bit to be taken from the ever developing talk of Carlos Vela and his now imminent departure from Real Sociedad.
Today Matty B informed me of further developments in the story, to which I responded with my normal initial cynicism. Upon investigation of multiple outlets both UK and Spanish based, I bent an eyebrow in contemplation. Normally an article without any quotes or named sources is nothing but hot air. When a club president/board member is quoted directly mentioning the player and the club involved I am more inclined to dig around a bit. You can pretty much find it the crux of the story on any outlet now. If you want to believe the story in its entirety then you will be interested to know that, apparently, a consort of board members from Real Sociedad flew over to London to secure the 50% rights retained by us following Vela’s sale to the Spanish club last summer. Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay was hoping to nut out a deal before July 1st to acquire those rights, as our buy back clause (€4.2M) expires on this date.
Upon his return to San Sebastian, Aperribay informed Kike Marin that “Arsenal have informed us that Vela would be with them next season”. Vela has also been outspoken in his departure from the club for a mooted offer from Atletico, as they seek to replace Diego Costa. He has been quoted as saying that the offer tabled by the Madrid team would be “irresistible” to ignore if nothing else was offered to him in the meantime. Having recently signed a 4 year extension, Vela’s value on the open market is now maximised, while his form over the past few seasons in La Liga has shown he is a player on the improve (16 Gls and 12 Ast last term). So a move to Atletico would benefit Sociedad far more than a move to Arsenal, hence the posse of delegates flying in to strongarm the 50% rights back from us.
Vela was also outspoken on a possible return to the Emirates when asked last month; “It makes sense that Arsenal activate the clause now.
“A club that sees that a player is performing well for three years and has the chance of having him back for just an extra million. If Arsenal wouldn’t pay that amount they wouldn’t be very intelligent.
“Arsenal gave me the opportunity to come to Europe when I was 17. I didn’t have as many opportunities as I expected and I had to try new options. If I have to return to London, I will try to make things in a different way so that happened in the past won’t be repeated again.”
And when you look at it, he has been posting decent numbers since leaving the club as this comparison from Squawka demonstrates:
Granted, these are the pure numbers and show nothing more than what you see here in front of you. There are so many attributes that are immeasurable as we all know and no one is saying that numbers are all that make up a player, but you would have to concede that his output last term for a team that finished 7th in a league dominated by 3 teams is fairly impressive. Whether he is able to return and translate that form back into the best league in the world is highly questionable, but I for one think that there are far worse options out there, some of whom we have already been linked with (Remy, Mandzukic et al)
But Vela failed with us once before, you say! I don’t disagree at all. But saying he failed and leaving it at that is both unfair and dismissive. Vela had to compete with the likes of Adebayor, Eduardo, Van Persie, a young Theo and a then mostly trouble free Bendtner. To say that he failed as a roughly 20 year old South American in a team full of highly technical European style footballers is hardly damning. Wenger was always full of praise for Vela and his respect for the possibility of his progression away from the club is underlined by the fact that we did indeed write the buyback option into his transfer deal. Now, with Vela producing numbers which has the attention of champions league finalists, Atletico, surely this is an option we would be apt to invoke. Now more than ever we have issues of over reliance on too few to do too much, Giroud being on the very top of my list of guys who need support and competition next season. Vela at the very least can offer that. At a snip of a price.
So what does it all mean then, I hear you ask? Well, most people of sound mind and body would form an opinion based on quite a few different things. Hopefully a few of which I have been able to provide you with today. It’s a complex subconscious process for the most part; and when one has finally made his judgement on where he stands on the subject he can then be safe in the fact knowing that his opinion in the grand scheme of what will happen at the club this summer amounts to 3/5 of stuff all.
Let the anarchy ensue!
– The BFG