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By ESPN Staff
May 17, 2008

Wenger to hand Mexican starlet Vela his chance

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has promised Carlos Vela a place in his first-team plans next season when the Mexico youngster returns from his loan spell at Osasuna.

Wenger wants to use the 19-year-old in a central attacking role at the Emirates Stadium following an impressive stint in Spain.

'We have applied for a work permit for him now,' said Wenger. 'And he will be involved with the first team next season.

'He has played the whole season at Osasuna on the left wing and he had to work hard there. But for me it is not his position - he is a central striker, an Eduardo type.'

Meanwhile, former Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira fears the consequences if Wenger takes the armband away from William Gallas.

Gallas' leadership was questioned this season as Arsenal's campaign fell away, leading to suggestions boss Wenger could change his captain.

'Psychologically, it could be difficult for William,' said Vieira in L'Equipe. 'He could think he has lost his coach's trust and his team-mates.'

Arsenal have already lost Mathieu Flamini to AC Milan and Vieira feels the club's wage structure could be a factor.

'Flamini's departure is a massive loss,' Vieira said. 'They should offer good contracts if Arsenal want to keep their best players.'


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