First came the shock that Los Angeles Football Club star Carlos Vela was being eyed as a transfer target by FC Barcelona. Surely it was a bored sportswriter or transfer bot, right?
Maybe not. Since reports first emerged on Wednesday, momentum seems to be gathering for Vela to be moving to one of the biggest clubs in the world.
On Friday, Spanish outlet Sport reported that Barcelona would bring Vela in on loan for the rest of the current season. While that report indicated that Vela was seen to be a backup option in case another striker said to have a more complicated situation didn’t come together for Barcelona, it indicated that the club could ultimately opt for the Mexican outright.
Then, ESPN Deportes reported on Friday that LAFC have agreed to loan out Vela for six months, which on a logical basis would seem to be the biggest stumbling block to a deal. The report indicates that LAFC is on board with the arrangement as long as Vela intends to return to LAFC midseason and give his all here in MLS when he comes back.
Now, you may be saying, how reputable are these sources? Great question, and frankly, the reliability of transfer rumors both in Spain and Mexico vary widely. These reports have been rumbling on, but we can’t necessarily take them entirely at face value or dismiss them outright. In short, hard to say.
Kevin Baxter of The Los Angeles Times literally called the initial rumors “fake news” earlier this week, and he’s been framing these reports as unlikely. He wrote on Friday “LAFC has yet to publicly confirm Barcelona’s interest in Vela and a deal is considered to be a longshot.” It’s unclear if the last clause is speculation — he elaborates in his article the obstacles potentially involved, but reading the full section, to me it sounds more like he’s talking through it more than providing info from the club directly.
To me, if LAFC indeed are willing to part ways with Vela, either temporarily or permanently, it likely represents a giant wrench in their plans for the next couple seasons (if he leaves for good). It’s not impossible they would have a Vela-level superstar at the ready to possibly replace him, but since they probably didn’t expect a 29-year-old playing in MLS would reportedly attract Barcelona, that’s probably not been at the top of their priorities.
Vela is scheduled to speak to reporters, including yours truly, in Los Angeles on Saturday. If that availability remains in place, we’ll likely get some insight from the player himself regarding a wild but seemingly plausible story. Stay tuned.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!