The Mexico international traded the Gunners for the Spaniards on a permanent deal in the summer of 2012 after impressing on an initial season-long loan.
The 26-year-old never managed to nail down a regular spot during his time in North London, and many predicted that his massive potential would be wasted due to a lack of progress.
However, since joining the Basque outfit, Vela has really come into his own and scored a total of 50 goals in 133 Spanish top-flight matches, an excellent return considering that he is often restricted to a wide forward role.
This season, under new Real Sociedad boss David Moyes, the former Chivas Guadalajara youth player hasn’t quite hit the heights of last year but achieved a notable feat in his side’s win on Friday.
With the home side comfortably in control at 2-0 with just five minutes remaining, Vela stepped up to beautifully curl home a 20-yard free-kick – his first ever in La Liga.
1 - Carlos Vela has scored the first free kick goal in his La Liga career. Sniper— OptaJose (@OptaJose) Mayo 1, 2015
His goal wrapped up the three points and his side’s first victory in seven matches, lifting them back up to 11th spot and just two points shy of a top-half position.
Despite Vela not being quite at his best this season, his quality is evident and a player of his calibre should be playing in Europe – something he must consider come the end of the season.