Carlos Departs, Robin Returns And A Creative Midfielder Needed
After seven years with Arsenal, Carlos Vela is on the verge of leaving the Gunners to join Spanish outfit Real Sociedad. Although he was signed way back in 2005, the Mexican was really at the club for only two-and-a-half of those seven years, the rest of his time spent serving loan stints in Spain and a brief spell at West Brom.
With first team chances limited between 2008 and 2010, Vela was unable to convert potential into meaningful contributions. But he’s still only 23 and as his last season at Sociedad showed, he has the attributes to enjoy a very successful career in football. It’s unfortunate it will not be at Arsenal but that’s the nature of professional football – there comes a time when it’s best for club and player to part ways and Vela’s divorce with Arsenal has been in the making for a while now. I wish the little Mexican the very best with his new club.
With one striker out of the door, questions are naturally being asked about the future of one or two of the others. Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner are likely to move away as well and amidst all the talk of contract extensions and new recruits, it’s easy to forget that there’s a lot of work that’s going on behind the scenes to cut the squad size before Arsene Wenger can bolster it.
Future or no future, most Arsenal players returned to training on Tuesday. Besides the two strikers mentioned above, Robin van Persie is back too, sporting enough grey hairs for Ryan Giggs to be alarmed. Whatever the final outcome, it’s good to see both the club and players maintain this level of professionalism in the meantime.
Speaking of new recruits, Sky Sports reports that Arsenal’s bid accepted for teenage trialist M’Baye Niang has been accepted by his current club Caen. Of course, the shadow of Manchester City looms over the target as well, as the Mansourians try to poach a rising star from the Gunners’ grasp. Eventually, it will come down to the player making a decision and hopefully he will have the sense to realise he’ll get far more opportunities at Arsenal than at City.
If Niang joins, we would have an assortment of talented young strikers on our books including Miyaichi, Wellington and Campbell all of whom have been recruited in the last 18 months. There’s many a slip between potential and performance of course, Carlos Vela proof of this, but I think at least one or two of these players will go on to make the grade at Arsenal.
Elsewhere on the pitch, I feel we still lack a creative midfielder in the first team. Worryingly, Jack Wilshere has still not joined up with the first team and it’s now almost a year since he picked up his injury in pre-season last year. Tomas Rosicky contributed brilliantly in the latter half of the season but it would be unrealistic to expect him to have a major influence over a 50-game season. Aaron Ramsey’s form last season was cause for concern and without a further addition, Arsene Wenger would place too much reliance on the fitness of Abou Diaby to have decent options in that area.
There are suggestions that if Yann M’Vila is signed, the Frenchman and Alex Song could play deeper and Mikel Arteta can be moved up as an attacking midfielder, a role he played during his time at Everton. But I am unconvinced M’Vila will be signed and with Arteta’s defensive abilities extremely good, I think he’s found his niche at Arsenal in that deep-lying ball retainer-cum-playmaker role.
Which leaves us short of one more creative midfielder, in my opinion. Needing cover in that position and having a good player available at a decent price are two different matters altogether though – perhaps we’ll see the Ox played in that role sooner rather than later?