Speculation continues to link Manchester United with a move for Valencia striker David Villa with a move expected to cost over £40 million should it go through, there’s still lots of doubts about a possible deal though – largely that Villa has often stated his preference to stay in Spain and lack of interest in moving to an English club, but as I’ve mentioned previously – should Valencia be forced to sell players to get out of their financial trouble then Villa may have to go abroad. United seem to be the only English team currently interested as Chelsea appear to have moved on to pursuits of other targets like Sergio Aguero and Frank Ribery.
For as long as I can remember United have had a talisman who carries the team forward – usually seems to involve a player wearing the number 7 shirt as well. Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Bryan Robson and Cristiano Ronaldo have all worn the shirt and provided huge contributions in their own ways – Ronaldo and Cantona mainly through goalscoring and Beckham and Robson from their playmaking abilities and weighing in with goals now and again. The current number 7 at Old Trafford doesn’t inspire fear in opposition teams – it was a shock that Man United signed Michael Owen, and then it was a shock that they gave him the number 7 shirt with most fans expecting a new signing to replace the departing Cristiano Ronaldo. Now, without a real talisman in the team – though Wayne Rooney is an influential player – United look devoid of ideas at times and could really do with an impact player to lead them forward regularly. This is where Villa could be the perfect signing for them.
I’ll make no secret of my admiration of Villa; for me he’s the best striker in the world and he can fashion chances out of nothing – thunderbolts, set-pieces, clinical finishes, Villa is deadly. He also has a liking for the number 7 shirt… United haven’t had a big scoring forward since Ruud Van Nistelrooy left the club (unless you consider Ronaldo to be a forward) and, whilst this wasn’t a problem with Ronaldo at the club, they don’t look as intimidating up front – particularly when Rooney is out and they’re playing Owen and Dimitar Berbatov up front with the duo misfiring. Villa meanwhile has scored goals regularly for every club he’s played for and rarely has an off game – adaptation for him would be just as easy as it was for Fernando Torres (despite his reluctance to leave Spain initially) and he could easily top the Premiership goalscoring charts should he make the move.
If Ronaldo had never happened to Man United then it wouldn’t be a player like him who surges forward from midfield that United players are calling for – they’d want another striker to get goals constantly like they were used to from the likes of Van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. Yet now it’s thought that United’s priority should be a midfielder and, whilst they could do with more creativity in the middle of the park, this isn’t addressing their reduced goalscoring capacity without a big scorer up top. Villa’s diminutive and not a media whore (which makes a change from United’s usual key man) and he certainly doesn’t look like the kind of talisman United are used to. If they were to sign him though and he started to bang the goals in then he would swiftly grab the talisman’s heroic status though – and could even grab the number 7 shirt from misfiring Michael Owen.