It seems to be universally accepted that Arsenal have a buy-back option on the player of around £3.5m, although it is less clear what the trigger for this is. It seems unlikely that it can be activated at any time of Arsenal’s choosing. Surely the player and club must agree remuneration for example?
Notwithstanding this, there are press reports emerging today that his current club Real Sociedad have been informed by Arsenal that he will be back with the Gunners next season. But do we want the player back?
On the one hand are those who point to his previous spell at the club, the statistics of which make Bentdner look a reasonable striker. Two goals in eight matches whilst on loan at West Brom presaged his initial loan to Sociedad for a season that yielded 12 goals and a permanent transfer, with the previously mentioned buy-back clause.
These naysayers suggest that the switch to the Spanish league was clearly the catalyst for his improvement. He is clearly more comfortable over there, quite possibly because, as a Mexican, his mother tongue is Spanish. This is backed up in the payer’s own statement that he “never adapted to life in London” and was not happy there.
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On the other hand, he contributed 16 goals and 13 assists from 37 La Liga appearances last season. A good return by any measure, and one that has certainly motivated Sociedad to want to keep him, and interest in signing him from several big European clubs. Could it be that he has, at 25, now matured into the player Wenger expected he would become when he signed him as a 16-year-old and still believed he might become when he inserted that buy-back clause?
There is a third view that, at £3.5m Arsenal should buy him simply because he is worth about £18m and sell him on for the profit. Even if he stays for just one season, and doesn’t contribute anything, he could still be moved on for a very healthy return. Arsene Wenger will not require his degree in Economics to work this out, but I do not believe he would commoditise a player to this degree. If he is buying him, it is for his potential as an Arsenal player, not his sell-on value.
I believe that Vela should be re-signed. Provided that we also bring in a further striker of proven world-class pedigree, it is a punt well worth taking. At £3.5m we can’t really lose on the deal and, with the proviso above, he would give the squad the depth that has been so often cited as the difference between Arsenal and our big spending title rivals. Rotating between Vela and Walcott on the right wing when we are in four competitions might ensure both keep out of the medical room.
So, not a [potential] signing that particularly excites me, but one that can definitely be construed as a step in the right direction.