There were more than just the two unfamiliar faces of Sami Nasri and Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal’s London Colney training base this week.
The two new boys were joined by Mexican starlet Carlos Vela, who also needed a guided tour' around the place despite signing for the Gunners back' in 2005.
The Mexico international arrived almost three years ago from Chivas de Guadalajara for £2.5million, but work permit restrictions meant the exciting Cancun-born winger was loaned out on three separate occasions to teams in Spain.
Spells at Celta Vigo, Salamanca and Osauna ensued and Vela has been a huge hit at all three clubs and now believes he is ready for the English top flight.
The 19-year-old attacker has revealed he is hungry for Premier League action' and is set to take the top flight by storm this season.
“It has helped me,” Vela said. “First of all it taught me what it was like being away from your home country – that helped me grow up as a person and as a player.
“I think that the Spanish and English style of football is the best in the world. I think also that playing against the best players in the world can only help me grow as a player.”
Vela’s recent form has been terrific and he is sure to be a stalwart of the Mexican national side for years to come after netting in the recent 4-0 friendly win over Peru and scoring in both legs of the 9-0 aggregate win over Belize.
The youngster played on the left wing last term in La Liga with Osasuna, but he is also at home on the opposite flank or down the middle. Vela likes to run with the ball, has exceptional close control' and will be a secret weapon for Arsene Wenger as he bids to upset the Premiership title odds by pipping Manchester United and Chelsea.
Vela will be an unknown quantity for several opposition managers, but the Arsenal No 12 won’t be slipping under the radar for too long as he looks primed to explode onto the scene in 2008/09.
Gunners fans will get their first sight of Vela in an Arsenal shirt in Saturday’s friendly with Barnet and an impressive performance could encourage fans to part with their cash and back Wenger’s men to win the title at Premier League odds of 6.0.
By Phil Tomlinson