Arsenal Transfer Rumours: No David Villa in January, But is a Summer Swoop Now Certain?

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Feb 01, 2013 03:48 AM EST
David Villa Alexis Sanchez Marc Batra Barcelona
Alexis Sanchez celebrates with Marc Batra and David Villa after scoring against Cordoba in their Copa Del Rey last-16 game, January 10(Photo : Reuters) "

 

So, Arsenal fans were left disappointed after it became apparent with every passing hour on transfer deadline day that David Villa would not be moving to the Emirates after all. Still that minute hope remained with the clock winding down to the deadline.

Refresh buttons were pressed across the world every few seconds on Arsenal's official website to see if there was an announcement in the tune of "Arsenal reach agreement with Barcelona for David Villa."

It, unfortunately never came, although Arsene Wenger did complete the astute signing of Nacho Monreal from Malaga.

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In reality, Arsenal were always fighting a losing battle when it came to Villa, with Barcelona refusing to relent from their stance of not selling a big-name player in January. It was as much about making a statement, as it was about keeping a player who could be useful in the next few months.

Because let's face it, Villa will not be a first choice for the rest of the season and will have to be content with a bit-part role, coming on the final 20 minutes and, most likely, adding to the already bulging Barca scoreline.

Tito Vilanova prefers Pedro Rodriguez, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta - the last two are untouchable, while Pedro has given the manager no reason to drop him.

Villa needs games - he is 31 and not getting any younger. Arsenal would have been the perfect fit for him, even if he might not have achieved the kind of success he would if he stayed with Barca.

However, there is still the summer, when most of the moves actually happen. Wenger told Villa, when the two apparently met at the Ballon d'Or ceremony, that he would bid for him in the summer, after it became clear Barcelona would not sell in January, although late moves and offers were made nevertheless.

That is a good sign. For Arsenal to have already earmarked their prime target five months in advance. Villa will not come cheap, though, even in the summer. While Barcelona will no longer be able to demand the £16 million ($25 million) fee they reportedly wanted to even consider a transfer, Villa will still cost somewhere in the region of £10 million ($16 million).

Where Arsenal will be at the end of the season will be another question. If they don't seal a top-four place then things might get complicated. Of course, Arsenal also could be the Champions League winners and/or F.A. Cup title holders by then - it's about looking at the glass being however you want it to be.

Either way, Arsenal need to be playing in the Champions League next season for the Villa move to come to fruition in the summer -- ironically the Spaniard might have just been the catalyst to fire the team to the top four.

It has been a while since Arsenal have seen a superstar of Villa's stature joining the club, rather than the other way around.

While Gooners might have had to wait a few months more for the signing to finally materialize, the wait might just be worth it, considering all the possibilities that lie in wait for the rest of the season.

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