According to reports yesterday the president of Real Sociedad has said that we have triggered our buy-back option for Carlos Vela.
The actual quote (after translation) was: “Arsenal have informed us that Vela would be with them next season.”
On the face of it, re-signing a striker who bagged 21 goals in the Primera Liga and who knows Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal way could be seen to be very good business.
Especially if the much quoted £3.5m buy-back fee is an accurate figure.
The return of little Carlos will no doubt make some supporters groan.
When he was with us he had a reputation as a bit of a party animal, but criticism of his on-field displays was sometimes harsh: it’s not like he ever got a regular run in the team.
Let’s put it this way, if we heard we were buying a 21-goal striker from the Spanish league (but a player of whom we had no previous knowledge) we would all be getting quite excited.
However, even if we have activated our buy-back option, I’m not sure we will ever see Vela in an Arsenal shirt again.
He could well join us “on the books” for a short while only to be moved on for a decent transfer fee or as a makeweight in another deal.
He could become the Clive Allen de nos jours.
For those who don’t remember, Clive Allen was once of the hottest young strikers in Britain back in the late 1970s. So when we signed him from QPR in 1980 – coming off a season in which he scored 32 goals in 49 appearances – we fans were well chuffed.
He was going to link up with Frank Stapleton and Alan Sunderland in what the press were already calling our “SAS attack”.
But the SAS never got out of headquarters. Within a few weeks of being bought, Allen was out through the exit door and on his way to Crystal Palace, with Kenny Sansom coming in the opposite direction. Clive never kicked a ball in anger for the Gunners.
There were rumours at the time that Palace had wanted to buy Allen direct from QPR but, for some reason, QPR did not want to sell him to the south Londoners. So in some kind of murky deal we scooped up Allen before promptly passing him to Palace. Still, it wasn’t all bad since Sansom turned out to be arguably the best left back we’ve ever had.
So what do you think?
Do you believe we have activated our Vela buy-back?
And if so, is he coming back to stay (in which case is he the shiny new striker we’re all expecting, or is he filling Bendtner’s berth as the third choice man)?
Or is he going to follow the Clive Allen path and simply whizz into the turnstile and straight back out again?
(Whatever happens, I hope his career doesn’t follow the trajectory of Allen’s when he left us. Not long after going to Palace he ended up playing in the N17 refuse dump. He ended up there again in an assistant managerial capacity much later, where his main job appeared to be eating doughnuts).