Wellington Silva will have been an Arsenal player for three years in January, but, with a new season rapidly approaching, the sprightly winger’s long-term future at the club is still no closer to being resolved.
Perennially loaned out since officially completing his move from Fluminense in 2011, the erstwhile Brazil U17 international is now 20 years old- an age at which his future career path should ordinarily have been decided but work permit issues and perceived attitude problems have dictated that the youngster has yet to play competitively for the club.
As he was last season, Wellington is likely to be amongst the players that will report to London Colney for the first day of pre-season training a week on Thursday, where he will hope to learn news of his fate for the upcoming campaign. There is the possibility that he could feature in some of the U21’s pre-season fixtures, but he is at the age now where senior football is really a priority for his development.
Wellington’s trio of loan spells in the second tier of Spanish football have yielded mixed results, from a disappointing spell at Levante in which he hardly featured, to a more fruitful stint with Alcoyano, before last season’s stay with Ponferradina, where, despite demonstrating glimpses of his undoubted potential, he was unable to command a regular place in the side, which does not bode well for his future prospects.
There is certainly room in Arsenal’s first-team squad for a fast and direct winger, but, with Ryo and Joel Campbell both far closer to the senior set-up, Wellington will certainly have his work cut out to convince Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff to apply for a work permit for the Brazilian.
Whatever transpires, it is hoped that the winger, who is under contract until 2015, will be much clearer about his career path by the end of the summer. Another loan spell in Spain is unlikely to aid his development too much, and, as he approaches the age of 21, and with it senior status in the club’s Premier League squad, a concrete decision will need to be made sooner rather than later regarding whether it is worth prevailing with a player who demonstrated so much potential ahead of his move to the club.