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Analysis: Carlos Vela would be no more than a back-up at the Emirates

Arsenal are considering a move to bring Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela back to the Emirates, but is he good enough for the first team?

Recent reports suggest Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal are considering a move to bring Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela back to the Emirates for a fee worth just £3.5 million.

The Gunners sold the 25-year-old to the La Liga outfit two years ago for around €3million, following an initial season-long loan, after he failed to break into the first-team at the Emirates. During his time in London he scored just three Premier League goals and made the same number of starts in the domestic top-flight - as well as 26 substitute appearances.

However, after impressing in La Liga, Vela is subject to speculation suggesting a return to Arsene Wenger’s side. Since his departure he has hit a rich vein of form that has seen him net 48 times in 124 appearances, as well as providing an impressive 29 assists for his team-mates.

For Sociedad, the Mexican has been playing predominately as a wide-right forward; a position that is already fairly well covered at the Emirates. With Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnarby providing options as natural right midfielders, Wenger has plenty of options on this wing. This poses the question, do Arsenal really need him?

The greatest argument for signing the Mexican is his goal scoring prowess, for which he has become fabled. He has just completed his most prolific season ever as a professional, scoring 20 goals in all competitions (16 league strikes); just two goals shy of Arsenal’s top scorer, Olivier Giroud.

  TeamPosGoalsmins / GoalsGoal Assistmins / Goal AssistTotal Att Assist / appsAppsMins
Theo Walcott Arsenal MF 5 171.60 4 215 1.77 13 858
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal MF 2 261.50 2 262 0.43 14 523
Serge Gnabry Arsenal MF 1 464.00 0 0 0.56 9 464
Carlos Vela Real Sociedad MF 16 194.40 12 259 0.61 37 3110

However, a look at the statistics will surprise a few. The Real Sociedad winger has actually scored fewer goals than Arsenal’s current first choice right winger this season, based on minutes per strike. He also creates a chance less often than the Englishman, who, despite only registering four assists, has set-up a goal once every 215 minutes.

There will of course be questions over Theo Walcott’s fitness. The 25-year-old managed just 13 appearances this season after suffering from various injuries, including his most recent ACL trouble, which has seen him miss the World Cup. However, when available he will expect to start on the right-wing, and quite frankly, he is the more efficient of the two players.

  TeamPosGoalsmins / GoalsGoal Assistmins / Goal AssistTotal Att Assist / appsAppsMins
Carlos Vela Real Sociedad FW 16 194.40 12 259 0.61 37 3110
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 16 192.56 8 385.13 1.03 36 3,081

Similar to Walcott, Vela offers versatility, especially considering his ability to play upfront. However, in Arsene Wenger’s current system, playing with a lone striker, he still wouldn’t make the cut. The Gunner’s first choice forward Olivier Giroud played slightly fewer minutes than the Mexican last season, yet he still managed an identical domestic goal tally, in arguably a tougher league.

There’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to live up to the pressure of playing for Arsenal. He faces a relatively small burden in Spain, where his side are never expected to challenge for the league title or progress past the group stages of the Champions League and the expectations will be far higher in North London.

For just £3.5 million, Vela would represent fantastic business, yet he wouldn’t be an assured starter as some would expect. He has enjoyed a fruitful time in Spain, but the Premier League presents its own set of challenges.

He is a very good player and would be valuable for squad depth, but unfortunately, he is not better than what Arsenal already have.

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