The situation of Carlos Vela appears to have been resolved after Real Sociedad teammate Antoine Griezmann claimed the Mexican forward has re-signed with the Spanish club. Arsenal had been able to bring Vela back to the club this summer thanks to a contractual stipulation, but Real have managed to finalise his acquisition from the Emirates Stadium.
A player much improved
Vela initially left Arsenal for Real Sociedad in August 2011 on a season long loan deal, during which time he was able to register 12 goals in the league. The following summer a permanent transfer was put in place, although it was essentially something of a rental deal given the clause Arsenal were able to negotiate.
This contractual condition enabled Arsenal to activate a buyback option of only €3.2 million should they decide they wanted Vela back in north London, and it would appear they at least threatened to do so after the player was able to perform to distinction at the Anoeta.
In the recently concluded club campaign, Vela was able to score 16 times and provide 12 assists in La Liga, with his goals tally only one shy of long-term Arsenal target Karim Benzema. These stats clearly impressed Arsene Wenger, although his intention to re-sign Vela seemed to have little to do with having the 25-year-old back among his number.
Real Sociedad’s president confirmed that Arsenal had been in touch to stat they wanted Vela back, but a resolution has been reached. It was reported last week that Real were close to announcing Vela had signed a club record contract worth €20 million over its duration, while The Mirror details that Arsenal will receive a transfer fee of £8.8 million.
Now Griezmann has broken rank to claim that Vela has indeed put pen to paper, and will be Real Sociedad player for the long-term.
"I'm talking to you in Spanish because of Carlos,” Griezmann told ESPN Mexico. “He's a top player; there's no one better. We have a great relationship on and off the pitch because we're good friends.”
The France international added: “He's relaxed. He's already signed a new contract and he's looking happy."
WATCH: Wenger confirms Vela to return
A good deal for Wenger
Had Wenger actually chosen to bring back Vela in order to reinforce his Arsenal ranks, then the Frenchman would likely have become a target for the ire of many of the club’s supporters.
This would not have so much to do with doubts about Vela’s suitability - he is a significantly improved player since his departure - but more the timing of the proposed acquisition. Wenger had already passed on the opportunity to activate a similar clause which would have seen former captain Cesc Fabregas return to the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger, however, informed Fabregas that he would be unable to fit both him and Mesut Ozil in the same Arsenal team. Had Arsenal then moved to recruit Vela, another attacking midfielder, then Wenger could have expected a torrent of criticism, and justifiably so.