Wellington Silva, a 23-year old winger from Brazil signed for Arsenal FC in January 2011. Since then his Arsenal career hasn’t been a smooth ride. He had indefinite work permit and visa issue, so he had to play elsewhere for four years to earn a European passport. He returned to Arsenal and was immediately loaned to Bolton.
He was 18 when he joined Arsenal and looked set to become a Samba great according to club manager Arsene Wenger.
However, playing for Arsenal did not turn out to be an easy career path for Silva. He played for five different Spanish clubs across three divisions from the first division to the third division in four and a half seasons from January 2011 to May 2015.
Only after that did he earn a Spanish passport and was eventually eligible to represent Spain national team at the International level. Therefore, only last season did he become available for Arsenal’s squad selection.
Wellington Silva had played for clubs like Levante UD (1st division), CD Alcoyano (2nd division), SD Ponferradina (2nd division), Real Murcia CF (3rd division) and UD Almeria (1st division) during his four and a half season stint in Spain. He had managed to play in 33 La Liga games and 72 La Liga 2nd division games during that period.
Thus his Spanish expedition did make him better and more mature as a player. He slowly became a double footed player due to his ability to play well on both wings in times of need. Hence at the beginning of last season, Wenger had a player who was filled with a combination of Spanish flair and Samba magic.
Silva was part of Arsenal’s preseason training before the beginning of last season. He trained with other Arsenal players and was eagerly waiting to make his much awaited Arsenal debut.
Since the first team was overcrowded with players who can play out wide, Wenger had to make other plans for Silva. He kept waiting patiently for his chance but in mid-August, he was sent on loan to Championship side Bolton Wanderers by Wenger to gain experience in English football.
He made his Bolton debut against Nottingham Forest in the Championship and went on to play 84 minutes in that game. Slowly, he kept putting up performances to press for a place in the starting XI on a regular basis. He went on to start in 7 of the next 9 games bagging 2 goals and 2 assists in the process.
An untimely hamstring injury made him miss the next 11 games for Bolton and eventually brought his stock down a bit. However, he went on to make 25 appearances (starting 15 games) in total for Bolton and ended the season with 4 goals and 5 assists. He mainly played as a left winger last season but also played on the right in a few games. His Bolton experience was, it can be said, a fruitful one for him.
He returned to the Emirates stadium for a new 2016/17 season only to find that a plethora of wide players stood between him and his first team chance.
At 23 with all the right attributes (skill,speed, stamina), Wellington Silva had two options; He could either stay in Europe and represent the Spain football team if given the chance or head back to Brazil and improve himself there and finally be prepared to represent the Brazilian national team.
He evidently wants to revive his Brazil national team career having last played for the national under17 squad back in 2009. Since the Brazil national football team is going through a lean patch of late, having been eliminated in the group stage of the recently concluded Copa America Centenario, Silva could be under the impression that it would be easier to break into the Brazil national team, who are currently short of wingers rather than the Spain national team who have so many wingers.
Moving back to Brazil might be best for both his club and international career. Fluminense are the club where he started his football career, and so if he does move back, he would get a chance to revive his career, and prove to the world just what an exceptional talent we all believe he really is.
As someone who is familiar with his skills and more importantly, his potential at the top level, I don not wish to see him go. Let us sit and hope that Arsenal clutch onto him and incorporate this highly talented player into their plans going into the upcoming season.