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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Arsenal: Meet the Jolly Good Vela, the Next Big Thing at Arsenal

For he's a jolly good Vela
For he's a jolly good Vela
For he's a jolly good Velaaaa!
Which nobody can deny.*

Carlos Vela, a 14-year-old unknown Mexican at the time, was given birth to his football career at one of the most successful clubs in Mexico, Guadalajara FC. He was accompanied by the presence of his brother in the team.

It took three years for his beam of talent to shine through the cloud of uncertainty and blind the eyes of the scouts, but mostly that beam shone with its greatest intensity at the U-17 World Cup with his international team.

Not only did his team managed to win the World Cup, but Vela snatched the Golden boot, finishing the tournament with five goals.

That, of course, drew the eyes of the world onto him, and a team from London, praised with having one of the best scouting networks in the world, were among the first to drool over the prospect of Carlos Vela.

Eventually, in November 2005, an offer was made by Arsenal which secured the services of the young El Tricolor. Due to his tender age though, Vela was ineligible to receive the work permit that would allow him to participate in English games.

He was loaned to Celta de Vigo in attempt to encourage his development. The Spaniards returned him soon after, not having used him once. Once again, Vela was loaned out to another Spanish team—this time Salamanca.

Good fortune smiled upon Vela in his Salamanca endeavour.

He gained valuable experience participating in 31 games, scoring eight goals, and making many others. His good spell meant great news for Arsenal, and after a year of success, he was loaned out to Osasuna for another year-long spell.

At Osasuna, where he was predominantly used as a winger, Vela drew the lauds of many football lovers, managing to snatch another 32 invaluable games.

On 22 May, 2008, just two months after his birthday, he was granted the work permit which led to his return to Arsenal.

Three months later, in a match against Newcastle in the Premier League, Carlos received his first taste of football in a red and white shirt substituting Arsenal star Robin van Persie. Then, a month later, his skill flashed like a lightning in a game against Sheffield United—three bright flashes, a hat-trick, his first for the Gunners.

Transformed into a fan favourite because of his bright start, Vela still struggled to find playing time, but that did not stop him from showing off his skills. By the end of the season, he already had bagged another two goals, one of which was a beautiful chip shot considered to be one of Arsenal’s 50 most beautiful goals.

In the next season, he managed to get a few more playing time with which to contribute with some more good goals and assists.

And then the 2010/11 season dawned.

In his first entrance near the end of the match against Blackpool, the young El Tricolor kept his composure to find the net with a nicely placed shot. His enthusiasm was so infective that you could not help but smile to see him scoring. Ten minutes of Premier League action; one goal. And it was just the beginning.

When Europe came knocking at the door, Vela opened with a smile.

He was once again used in the Champions League match against Portuguese team Braga. This time the 21-year-old had double the time to play and double the trouble to give Braga—twenty minutes as he replaced Andrei Arshavin in the 70th minute.

“20 minutes! No problem.” is what he might have thought.

Vela’s positive attitude and enviable composure in front goal pushed the score to a mind-boggling 6-0 in favour of Arsenal. Two goals in twenty minutes. So far, Vela has played for 30 minutes scoring three goals—that makes it one goal every 10 minutes.

With such a bright displays so far, who could know what this boy could do if he is used more often? Surely, if his performances continue to impress, Wenger may decide to scrap the £400,000 he has to pay his former team, Guadalajara, if Vela is to get 50 first team appearances.

Surely, even at that point, Arsene Wenger must give Vela the chance to shine, with that same intensity that drew Arsenal to sign him. The Jolly Good Vela, the next big thing at Arsenal?

I’m sure he will be, and so is Arsene.

*This is a chant that the fans of Arsenal have composed for Calros Vela.

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