Barcelona’s 4-2 win at home to Real Betis last Sunday will be remembered for two reasons. The first being that Lionel Messi came off the bench just before the hour-mark and put forward one of his most spectacular performances this season. Were it not for Betis keeper Adrian – and I will point the finger at him for ruining what could have been an incredible 30-minute cameo – Messi could have rounded off his performance with a hat-trick.
The other story of note to take from that game was the wayward shooting of David Villa. The great Spanish striker (and I’m careful not to use the past tense when talking about him) was offered multiple scoring opportunities, missing all in the first-half with each more and more ridiculous than the previous. Villa did eventually get his goal, his last touch in the game before being replaced by Messi. But it’s been the story of Villa for much of the season, and plenty of it has been to do with his sporadic appearances in the first XI.
Emerging this week have been reports linking Villa with a move to Tottenham, with Spurs joining the hunt alongside Arsenal and Atletico Madrid.
On the face of it, Villa is exactly what Tottenham need. Again, I refrain from referring to Villa as a once great striker; he still has all the qualities needed to be one of Europe’s very best in front of goal. The 31-year-old has a wealth of experience, notably in the Champions League, and Spurs will be keen to properly prepare for next season should they finish in the top four. But on this occasion, the cons outweigh the pros, and Villa should be overlooked by a team who are attempting to revamp their attack.
The thing about David Villa coming to England is that he’d be an excellent choice as an alternative to share the load. His age hasn’t taken too much out of him, but it’s the matter that a veteran striker will need to acclimatise to a league of which he has no previous experience.
The talk about a move to England has been one where the Spaniard would enhance Arsenal’s strike force or replace Mario Balotelli at Manchester City, for example. Neither of those teams were looking to bring Villa in as the first-choice attacker. For Arsenal especially, you can see how much faith Arsene Wenger has in Olivier Giroud, and with goals needed from the flanks, Villa would have been an excellent option to play from the left as well as rotating with the Frenchman. For Tottenham, they need to focus fully on bringing in a first-choice striker with plenty left in him for a long-term stay in their starting XI.
It was recently revealed that Spurs were looking at Roberto Soldado, and despite not having a profile equal to that of Villa, the Valencia striker fits the bill much better than the Barcelona forward. Soldado has been a 20-goal-a-season striker for four consecutive years and is very much at the top of his game. There is much more confidence about Soldado now, and the transition to Tottenham would be far easier than if Spurs were to put all their hope into Villa.
Tottenham’s budget this summer and recent history of wanting to remain sensible in the market simply do not allow for gambles to be taken on players who are not in it for the long term. Villa would be an excellent professional to have at White Hart Lane, but such is the building project that is set to continue this summer, Spurs are better off looking for younger alternatives with much less in the way of wage demands.