Vela Signs for Real Sociedad and some Arsenal Players to Visit Nigeria
It all started when a young Aztec Warrior blazed the 2005 FIFA Under-17 Youth Championships alight with five goals, grabbing the Golden Boot in the process. His nation, Mexico, won that tournament. As expected, he attracted the predators of Europe as he plied his trade in Chivas Guadalajara but Arsenal came calling and acquired his services in 2005.
This lad was labelled as a hot prospect for the future but he had some work permit issues, so he was shipped to Salamanca to get some playing time and his first share of experience in Europe. Arsene Wenger probably assigned a scout to watch him on a consistent basis in the Spanish outfit and I’m sure that the reports he got made him drool. Vela scored eight goals and supplied 15 assists in his first stint in Europe as an 18-year-old.
After the successful spell in Salamanca, Vela’s work permit wasn’t sorted out yet, so the club sent him on loan again to another Spanish side, with Osasuna being the preferred destination. Unlike in Salamanca where he was the focal point of attack, Vela operated through the left wing in most games for Osasuna, but he still managed to score three goals and lay on four assists in 33 games.
On May 22, 2008, Carlos Vela secured his work permit to play for Arsenal and that news sparked celebrations at the club because everyone was longing to see the prospect don the sacred Red and White after three years of waiting. He made his debut in August 2008, when he came on as a sub for Robin van Persie in the 63rd minute in a match against Newcastle United. Arsenal ran out as 3-0 winners in that game and if my memory serves me right, van Persie scored a brace and Denilson registered his first goal for the club.
Vela rose to prominence when he put up a 5-star performance in the 6-0 rout against Sheffield United in the Carling Cup. He grabbed himself a scintillating hat-trick and still supplied an assist in the game. That match also went down in history as the game Arsenal fielded its youngest ever side with an average age of 19. He also got his first league goal for Arsenal against Portsmouth, making him the second Mexican to score in the Premier League. The first was probably Jared Borgetti in his Bolton days.
However, there was an incident that happened that season where Vela was excluded from a training session because of the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak. Two of Vela’s friends from Mexico visited him over the weekend and Arsenal were asked to keep him away. However, he returned to training the next day after being given the all-clear.
He suffered some injuries in his second season at the club but his most notable goal was a delightful chip in the match against Burnley. They had defeated Arsenal in the Carling Cup a season before but most of the blame must go to Nicklas Bendtner for his profligacy in that game. He activated a clause against Blackburn on May 2010, and a fee of £550,000 was paid to Chivas as he had played his 50th game for Arsenal.
The exit of Mercenary William Gallas among others saw van Persie take the No. 10 jersey, so Vela opted for van Persie’s previous No. 11 jersey at the start of the 2010/11 campaign. His first goal in that season came against Bolton – a goal that was the icing in the cake after Arsenal had interchanged 23 passes before Cesc Fabregas dinked it over the top for Vela to put the finishing touches. He also scored two goals as a sub in the 6-0 thumping of SC Braga.
With limited chances available for Vela, Arsenal loaned him in January 2011 to West Brom, and he managed to score two goals in eight games for Woy Hodgson’s side. That turned out to be his last stint at England as Vela was loaned back to familiar surroundings in Spain to play for Real Sociedad.
After amassing 37 games for the Spanish outfit, Vela scored 12 goals and supplied eight assists, endearing himself with the San Sebastian faithful. After a spell of rigorous negotiations, Real Sociedad is delighted to announce that Carlos Vela has signed a four-yeal deal with them, bringing an end to his seven-year stint at Arsenal football club.
He leaves Arsenal after making 62 appearances for the club, scoring 11 goals and making seven assists in the process. Here’s a collection of his fondest memories.
In other Arsenal related news, the club has announced that four first team players are to travel to my country, Nigeria, to take part in activities with regional partners and engage with supporters in the region. Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, ze Big Fuckin German, Per Mertesacker and new signing, Lukas Podolski will be travelling to Lagos for a flying visit in two weeks’ time. The players will take part in a series of activities organised by the Club’s partners, Malta Guinness and Airtel.
This move to Nigeria is in the wake of the club’s postponement of its proposed friendly against the Super Eagles that was scheduled for August 5, 2012. The club said it had taken the decision as a result of “complexities linked to the planned game”.
The club also released a statement on this newly-planned proposed visit:
“We were disappointed to have to postpone the game and intend to visit Nigeria next summer. However we are delighted to be bringing this group of players to Nigeria to take part in events with our regional partners. It will give us a chance to engage with local supporters and reinforce our commitment to the market.”
Malta Guinness’ marketing manager, Emmanuel Agu, has stated that the players will take part in a busy schedule of events in Lagos and Arsenal fans in Nigeria will get the chance to interact with these players in a number of exclusive events. The players will also be engaged in some activities for telecoms operator, Airtel.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to make sure I take a picture or two with at least, one of the players…that’s if I get a chance too.
In your spare time, check out this cool video of Thomas Vermaelen acting like Jet Li’s apprentice. As expected, there was no inch of joy on his face.
Adios Aztec Warrior.
As a friend said, we’ll think about you when any other Arsenal player chips the opposition goalie. We could say, “OMG, Giroud just did a Vela on James Blunt’s long lost clone, Petr Cech” 😀
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