No one knew quite what to make of Carlos Vela's loan move to Real Sociedad last summer. Here was one of Mexico's brightest talents, who had up to that point failed to dazzle at Arsenal, aiming to resuscitate his fledgling career that had been more hype than actual results at one of Spain's lesser clubs.
Vela's previous stint at a bottom-table club hadn't turned out so well: The forward started just three times for West Bromwich Albion in the second half of last year's season after being loaned out by the Gunners. Vela hadn't played well enough to earn more playing time at Arsenal nor had he built enough cache to garner legitimate interest for a permanent move elsewhere.
But Vela made the move that his friend and former U-17 World Cup champion teammate Giovani Dos Santos didn't make. He accepted to join whatever team offered him an opportunity to play. As a result, Vela has not only resuscitated his career, but he's revived hope for a superstar career and is making his claim as the current top Mexican footballer on the planet.
With Javier Hernandez suffering somewhat of a sophomore slump at Manchester United -- though expectations might have more to do with it since Chicharito does have 10 league goals -- Vela has clearly had the best season for any Mexican player in Europe.