Carlos Vela could KO Arsenal's Champions League plans

Carlos Vela Arsenal

Real Sociedad and Carlos Vela could be one of the teams Arsenal face in the Champions League qualifiers in August.

Arsenal's over the top celebrations at clinching fourth spot at the end of the season take on even more cause for reflection when it is considered the club have not fully qualified for the Champions League.

The Gunners must negotiate a tricky two-legged qualifying tie in August, which did for Everton in 2005 and so nearly saw them come unstuck against Udinese in 2011.

While the club are expected to be seeded and therefore land a more favourable draw, it should be remembered there are no easy ties at even this stage of the competition.

HITC's Nick Harris took a considered look at the possible opponents for Arsenal yesterday, with Real Sociedad one of five most likely opponents they could face.

And this really would throw together and intriguing possibility and re-uniting, bringing Arsenal and Carlos Vela back together.

The Mexican was sold by the club last summer to Sociedad, and has enjoyed a dream season beyond even his expectation.

Simply finishing in Spain's top four was not on their radar when the campaign began, and this will likely enable them to hang onto key players like Vela, and his fellow wing wizard Antoine Griezmann.

Vela was recently linked with returning to Arsenal, who are reported to have a buy-back clause in place, but the attacker responded to that speculation insisting he was perfectly happy in Spain where he is playing regularly.

And you can't blame him for that, for the 24-year-old is fulfilling his potential which once marked him out as a future Arsenal star.

In 34 La Liga games he has scored 14 goals for the club and provided 12 assists, their most productive player and one Sociedad intend to keep around.

The latest transfer talk was even that the club were willing to sit down with Arsenal and re-negotiate to take the buy-back clause out of his contract.

The Gunners may want to think carefully if the two clubs do end up meeting in the Champions League, for they could unsettle him by launching a bid to bring him in, or even try to force it through.

The prospect of Vela knocking Arsenal out in the qualifying rounds is not an eventuality which Arsene Wenger would welcome, but one which might just leave the forward feeling vindicated.

How would you feel about Arsenal facing Sociedad? Would you fancy their chances of getting through?

image: © wonker

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch