An ideal signing for Arsenal this summer?

David Villa Barcelona strikerArsene Wenger weighed up a move for David Villa during the January window, as Arsenal were – and still are – having troubles in the striker position, while FC Barcelona had a disgusted hitman sitting on the Nou Camp’s bench. Not a bad option as a mid-season solution but, should the Gunners revisit their interest in the 31-year-old at the end of the season or should they scan the Premier League and other markets in search of young blood?

Well, despite being called El Guaje (The Kid), Villa is not anymore that youngster that started banging goals at a ferocious rate with Sporting de Gijon over a decade ago. He suffered an injury that kept him out of the game for eight months last year, and he is 31, so no more than two or three good seasons should be expected from him. So it will all come down to the price of the signing – if Arsenal can slightly reduce the £15million the transfer was valued at, there is no reason to not give it a shot.

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Arsenal cannot afford to keep relying on Walcott or Cazorla’s goals, as they both are in their career’s highest numbers and those scoring rates – which are excellent for midfielders – might not last forever. Giroud and Podolski, as striking focal points, but have not found the opponent’s net with the desired frequency (with nine and eight league goals to their name respectively).

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, David Villa wonders why he is not featuring more regularly in Jordi Roura’s formation. With Leo Messi as the only regular starter in the attacking line of the famous 4-3-3 Blaugrana’s line up, Villa has to fight with Pedro, Alexis Sanchez or Cesc Fabregas for one of the two spots, with the former Valencia striker often being left out.

Nevertheless, Spain’s number seven has played less minutes and scored more goals than any of them. Villa has bagged 8 goals in La Liga having played only 1019 minutes, making him by far the most prolific choice in terms of goals. Pedro (1820 min, 5 goals) and Alexis (1153 min, 2 goals) offer more sacrifice and defensive balance, while Fabregas (1583 min, 6 goals) brings assisting capacity and fits in best in Barcelona’s endless-passing style of play.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, the fact that Villa is not being used as much as he would like, does not imply that Barcelona are willing to get rid of him. In fact, El Guaje is highly valued at the Nou Camp and his scoring abilities are of no doubt. Coaching staff and chiefs count on him, and director of football Andoni Zubizarreta recently expressed how hard it would be to find a replacement for Villa.

Barcelona are willing to offer Villa a new contract and will be reluctant to sell the player, but the player expects to play more and will consider offers if he is not guaranteed more minutes than this season. Which is exactly where Arsenal’s opportunity lies, and Arsene Wenger could find a striker that has scored at least 20 goals per season every year since 2001 (apart from last year, when he was injured) suddenly at his disposal.

El Guaje’s contract expires in 2014 and, if Barcelona fail to find a way to keep him and extend his deal, a summer transfer would be practically inevitable, as keeping him for one more season would mean letting him go for free. In that context and with the player determined to leave, Arsenal could sign a top-class player at a knock-down price.

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