The Spanish striker was on Arsenal’s radar in the winter window with Wenger keen on bolstering his attacking options in January but Barca refused selling, claiming El Guaje was key to their treble pursuit but now that the season is over and rather than counting their gains, the Catalans are busy counting their losses, chief of which is the 7-0 aggregate embarrassing loss suffered in the hands of Bayern Munich. They have commenced moves to beef up the squad with the acquisition of Brazilian sensation, Neymar. The arrival of Neymar is the nail in the Barcelona coffin of Villa with the Spanish record scorer now deemed surplus to attacking requirements at the Nou Camp. The Catalans are now ready to let El Guaje leave and the Premier League seems to be his next point of call. Where in the Premiership is what is uncertain. Is it North London with Arsenal or Tottenham or is it at Merseyside with Liverpool? Let’s weigh the chances of the three clubs.
Arsenal have always been interested in David Villa since his time at Valencia and he is a confessed fan of Arsenal but as is always the case with Arsenal, the refusal to spend big has perpetually scuttled the plan. Villa went to Barca instead and after falling down the pecking order owing to the arrival of Fabregas and injuries, Wenger sensed it was the perfect time to lure him to North London for a reduced fee. Hence, the January bid. Barca’s refusal to sell meant Arsenal couldn’t get him but should we try again this summer, we are well poised to get him. He will be coming for a reduced price owing to the fact that he is advanced in years and also has his contract fast winding down. His contract expires next summer and Barca would want to recoup part of the money they forked out for him in order to strengthen other positions.
Villa might be leaving a top club in Barcelona but he would still want a move to yet another top club and from all the clubs currently jostling for his services, Arsenal are the biggest. At Arsenal, he will have the priviledge of UEFA Champions League football, better chance of winning the Premier League and also decent wages unlike at the other clubs seeking his services.
Tottenham want him to beef up their attack that already has Defoe and Adebayor. The Togolese forward is one of the highest earners at White Hart Lane and would be difficult to force out. He has a track record of not been pushed around owing to his stubbornness and it also crystal clear that Villas-Boas doesn’t rate him highly (I don’t blame him, a striker that returns 6 Premier League goals all season doesn’t deserve any decent rating) and will be keen to see his back but he will have problems getting him a club. Who will pay 100k Pounds weekly wages for Adebayor? He has certainly ruined his reputation with top 4 clubs and the middle table teams cannot afford such bogus wages. Without Champions League football, how can Tottenham afford to pay more than 2 players above 100k Pounds per week? Lack of Champions League football is a huge minus that will count against them in their pursuit of Villa. The Spaniard will be keen to play in the Europe’s elite club competition to boost his chances of making La Fura Roja’s cut to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
As for Liverpool, they stand no chance at all. They are certainly in the market for a new striker owing to the likely departure of Luis Suarez to Real Madrid this summer but I wonder how they intend to lure a striker of Villa’s class without European football. If Tottenham stand little chance of getting him because of their failure to offer Champions League football, what then are the chances of a club that cannot even offer continental football, I bet no chance at all. Villa might be aging but he still has his class intact. A player of his class deserves Champions League football every season.
Another reason why Villa will be Arsenal bound if Wenger shows interest is the Spanish flair already present at the Emirates. In the first team at Arsenal, there are three Spanish players already (Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Nancho Monreal) and their presence will help David Villa settle in the Premier League. Settlement in a new country and league could be difficult without fellow countrymen there. The last time I checked, there are no Spanish player in Tottenham and very few in Liverpool (Reina and Jose Enrique). Who knows the two might be on the move this summer. Reina has been linked with a move to Barcelona to replace soon to leave Victor Valdes. Also, the two out of the three Spanish players at Arsenal are regulars in the Spanish squad and should Villa join them, the trio will be able to forge good understanding which will help their push for more regular football with Spain.
The style of play also favours a move to Arsenal. Barcelona and Arsenal play similar style of football owing to the passing game and 4-3-3 formation. Villa will have no problems adapting to Arsenal’s style unlike Liverpool and Tottenham that don’t fancy too many passes. In the race to sign Villa, Arsenal are well poised to finish ahead of the chasing pack. The only reason why Villa will end up at the less fancied end of North London or the ‘ghostly’ Merseyside environment is the absent of a bid from Arsenal.