From humble beginnings in the back-streets of sub-urban Mexico, the story of Carlos Vela is a modern fairy tale. At the age of just 15 he illuminated the World stage claiming the Golden Boot in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup as Mexico clinched the title in true Latin American style.
His success did not go unnoticed and he was seized by Arsene Wenger and his notorious scouting team.
Vela’s tender age and Mexican passport have prevented him from making his Arsenal debut since his £2.5 million move in the winter of 2005. Instead of developing his game playing in the Carling Cup or at Arsenal’s inimitable youth academy like so many other Arsenal prodigies, Vela has spent the last two years battling it out in the technical showcase which is La Liga.
Uprooted from his home-town and country at just 15, Vela struggled to make his mark in Spain in his debut season whilst playing 2nd division football with Salamanca.
Yet a late flourish to the season saw the Arsenal star score 8 goals and, perhaps more importantly, a resurgence of confidence. Vela was beginning to reproduce the kind of form he had demonstrated at the Under-17 World Cup.
For many young athletes moving to a foreign country before the end of your teenage years is the ultimate sacrifice. The price of stardom is great but the reward is undoubtedly greater. Vela’s affinity to football is natural and his talent genuine; while he has become an accomplished performer whilst playing in Spain the tests which lie ahead in the rain filled skies of England may prove a sterner task.
However, Arsene Wenger has recently stated Vela is ready for the physical, mental and emotional test which is the Premier League.
In total Vela spent time at 3 clubs in Spain culminating with last seasons 33 game stint at Osasuna in which he paced himself against the best defenders in the Primera.
With big game experience against the like of Sergio Ramos, Carlos Puyol and Daniel Alves under his belt, it seems Vela is well equipped to deal with the unequivocol demands of the Premiership and every teams most cherished dream- the Champions League.