Carlos Vela has suggested he would turn down an approach from Arsenal to remain with Real Sociedad, saying he "never felt comfortable" during his original spell with the Gunners.
Spanish outlet Marca believes Arsene Wenger is "desperate" to seal the return of his old player, per Jamie Anderson of the Daily Star. Vela's terrific season underlines the notion Wenger let a lethal striker leave without providing him ample opportunity to shine, and it now appears the striker isn't willing to begin a second tenure in London.
Vela spoke honestly during an exclusive interview with beINsports, translated by Inside Spanish Football:
I never felt comfortable in London and I never enjoyed it. However, when I got to Donostia (San Sebastian) I found a place where I was very happy, where I’m enjoying myself every day.
The English game is very straightforward. Here, the difference is that there are more touches of the ball and the benefits me.
The full interview can be viewed here for those who speak Spanish:
The Mexican's comments contradict quotes attributed to him in Anderson's report, in which he acknowledged Arsenal "can come back for me at £3.3m at any time."
"I won’t close the door on Arsenal, or any team in England," he added, saying he is "better prepared to play in another country now."
While this may be the case, it's unlikely Vela would be given as many first-team opportunities as he'd like if a second tenure at Arsenal is secured.
Olivier Giroud remains the club's lone striker and usually shares time with Yaya Sanogo, although the pair did play together toward the latter stages of the FA Cup final. Wenger must sign a world-class forward, but Vela's style overlooks the manager's most pressing needs.
Arsenal need an out-and-out scorer who can lead the line with intelligent hold-up play, physically impose himself on defenders and tightly guard possession while the troops bomb forward in support. Most vitally, they need someone who will bag them at least 20 goals in a Premier League season.
Names such as Karim Benzema and Jackson Martinez have been touted, per Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, two forwards who have the attributes to significantly improve Arsenal's attack. Despite scoring 16 and assisting 12 in 37 La Liga appearances this season, per WhoScored.com, Vela may struggle to hold down a regular starting place even if Wenger missed out on a forward of the aforementioned ilk.
Oscar Badallo of Marca suggests that, on top of Vela's resistance to return, Sociedad are likely to try to halt a move:
Nonetheless, the fact that Arsenal are eager to buy Vela back doesn't necessarily mean the player will automatically end up playing for them next season, as Real Sociedad have fought tooth and nail to keep him in their ranks and will continue to do so as long as they can.
At such a cheap price, there's no doubt Vela would prove to be a resourceful re-signing. Even so, a potential rerun would fail to address the areas Wenger needs to desperately improve on.
The French boss dithered in a similar fashion during the January transfer window. He opted to sign Kim Kallstrom on a pointless loan deal over securing a physical midfield general—or indeed that elusive forward—leaving Arsenal short in the title race.
A committed Vela would be welcome, but his recent comments indicate he doesn't want his future to reside in England.
Such a stance could prove harmful to Arsenal's morale, especially as Vela would likely feel pressure to perform after failing to make an impact during his initial stay. While his price is inviting, Wenger must unearth transfer targets who are willing to represent the Gunners, even if such a move is likely to cost a whole lot more.