Former Gunner impressing with performances in La Liga.
Italian giants Juventus are leading the chase in a surprise move for former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela, CaughtOffside understands.
The Mexican international, currently with Real Sociedad, is being eyed up by several top Italian teams ahead of this January’s transfer window, with the likes of AC Milan and Fiorentina also thought to be monitoring his situation.
Vela has been a revelation with the Basque club since signing from Arsenal on an initial loan spell in 2011 and then a permanent move a year later, scoring 30 goals and providing 21 assists for the team in just 84 appearances.
Thought of as one of the game’s most exciting prospects as a teenager, Arsenal snapped up Vela back in 2005, though they had to wait until 2008 for him to make his debut for the club as he spent time out on loan to become eligible for a work permit.
However, he failed to impress in his time at the Emirates Stadium, and was often limited to games in the League Cup, where he enjoyed a good scoring record against lower league opposition, without ever seeming capable of making the step up in the Premier League.
There are now signs that the 24-year-old is fulfilling his true potential though, with some dazzling displays in La Liga over the last few years, which had even led to suggestions that Arsenal could activate a buy-back clause in his contract to re-sign him.
This never materialised, however, and Vela himself has stressed that he is happy with Sociedad, whom he helped qualify for this season’s Champions League with an impressive fourth place finish in La Liga last season.
Still, Juventus will be hoping they can tempt the talented attacker to Serie A, as they look to bolster their attacking options this January with an upgrade on disappointing signing Fernando Llorente.
The former Athletic Bilbao man joined Juve this summer, but has struggled to find his best form for the club and may even leave for more regular first-team football when the transfer window re-opens, leading manager Antonio Conte to consider new alternatives upfront for his side.
Vela’s versatility to play either upfront or out wide appeals to Conte, and the Italian tactician is hoping that the Mexican will be one of the cheaper options on the market this winter, as he could be available for around £15m.
Juve will be the favourites to land the Sociedad star, though Fiorentina will also keep an eye on the situation as they look to replace key attacking duo Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic, who both left the club in the summer.