Former Arsenal League Cup mainstay Carlos Vela, who left the club in 2011 only to flourish at Real Sociedad, could be set for a sensational Gunners return at a cut-price cost of £3.2m thanks to a buy-back option in the Mexican's contract.
Regarded as a left-sided forward when in North London, Vela transitioned to the right, scored 12 and assisted seven in his debut season (on loan), in 2011-12 but enjoyed his most productive period to date this season, netting 15 times and setting up a further 12 in La Liga competition alone.
Still just 25-years-old, Vela could be worth a punt for Arsene Wenger, particularly when the fee is so low, with media reports linking the player back to Arsenal. Despite claiming three years ago he wanted a permanent solution in Spain, Vela reportedly told La Liga journalists recently that the next stage of his career could be back with Wenger, but how does he compare to similar players in his position - guys like Willian, Raheem Sterling and Adnan Januzaj?
|Team||Pos||Pass Acc||Pass/ App||Dribble/ App||Disposs'd / App||Mins/ Chance||Assist||Goal||App||Min|
The Liverpool and Manchester United wonderkids are at an obvious age disadvantage compared to Vela and have a marginally superior passing accuracy (statistics taken from respective divisions), yet all are dwarfed by Chelsea's Brazilian attacker. Only Januzaj attempts fewer passes per appearance, yet he has featured more frequently as a substitute, meaning the Premier League trio have play fed through them more often than Vela.
What Vela does with the ball, dribbling aside due to dis-possession, elevates him to a higher standing than the others. He creates a goal-scoring opportunity every 38.6 minutes he is on the field and he has an attacking efficiency (goals + assists / minutes) of 111 minutes.
Ultimately, even if Arsenal bring Vela back and he flops, he could still command a handsome price from a Spanish-based suitor, perhaps not akin to the £30m estimated valuations of Willian, Sterling and Januzaj, but a damn sight more than the £3m being suggested that they can re-sign him for.
Vela, though, has improved in many areas since leaving North London. He executes key passes with aplomb, is effective when running with the football and has deadly finishing skills.
Considering the fee, this may be an offer too good for Arsenal to turn down.