Carlos Vela looked like he had the potential to be great for Arsenal.
Remember in the mid-to-late 00s when the performances of our first-team started to go downhill but we at least had the League Cup sides as a nice little extra?
Back in those days, with the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira now long gone, we were sold a project for the future; our young captain Cesc Fabregas led the senior side and it seemed like he would soon be joined by more elite up-and-coming talents, with Theo Walcott growing in stature and the likes of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Nicklas Bendtner coming through.
Among the most exciting players in those League Cup teams was Carlos Vela, the young Mexican forward we’d been made to wait for due to permit issues, but it quickly looked like he’d be well worth the wait.
I mean, just look at the quality of his finishing for this hat-trick against Sheffield United…
Unfortunately, Vela never really got the minutes he looked like he deserved, and ended up out on loan before later joining Real Sociedad permanently.
Despite some flashes of brilliance in La Liga, Vela never really cut it as a top player there either, and the finest form of his career has now come in the lower level of the MLS with LAFC.
Why did it go wrong for Vela? According to The Athletic, one of our chief scouts Francis Cagigao identified the issue pretty early on.
After observing him on loan at Celta Vigo, Cagigao supposedly said pretty emphatically that Vela had “100 per cent of the talent, 0 per cent of the attitude.”
On a more positive note, the report later adds that our current Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli seems far more convincing in that department, so let’s hope that means he won’t go down the same route.
It’s sad, however, to think of the career Vela could have had, and the player Arsenal ultimately missed out on.