Since the end of the season, it has been speculated that now former Barcelona forward David Villa was headed to the Premier League to play for either Arsenal or Tottenham. But on Monday, it was announced that Barcelona and fellow La Liga side Atlético Madrid have agreed to a 5.1 million Euro deal for the forward.
The signing of Villa by “Los Colchoneros” represents the first significant summer signing by the team coached by Diego Simeone and also, confirms the end of their pursuit of Alvaro Negredo, who is now tabbed to join Manchester City. For Villa, it offers him an opportunity at a career revival of sorts after three seasons with Barcelona.
While looking at the raw numbers, it’s hard to argue that Villa had a disappointing spell while playing for Barcelona as he scored 33 goals in 77 league appearances.
That said, it always appeared as if Villa was never comfortable or adjusted to Barcelona’s playing system. Part of the reason is that Villa, who is a central forward and most comfortable playing inside the box, was deployed to the left side of three forward line as Lionel Messi played the central role up front.
As a result, Villa struggled in a number of games and also found himself coming off the bench in several big games as a result of his inability to adjust or fully get comfortable to playing a wider role with Barcelona.
With Atlético Madrid, Villa will be deployed in his preferred and natural central forward role. He will be taking over and replacing the departed Radamel Falcao so therefore, he’d be guaranteed to be the starter at the No. 9 position.
While in Barcelona, he had to play more of a support role for Messi. With Atlético Marid, Villa will be the targeted player for all crosses and passes into the box. Also, he will play up front with a player like Diego Costa, whom also is a forward, but is less of the traditional target man than Villa and will therefore give Villa someone who will play for him.
The acquisition of Villa by Atlético Madrid shows the team while having sold Falcao to noveau rich AS Monaco, they have replaced them with a quality and proven goal scorer in Villa at a very reasonable fee. For “Los Colchoneros,” who will also play Champions League during the 2013-14 season, the drop off in losing a forward like Falcao should be mitigated as a result.
For Villa, who at 31 is at a crossroads in his career, joining Atlético Madrid gives him the chance to play week in and week out for a top level team and with that, gives him a chance to re-establish himself as a starting forward for the Spanish national team as they head into next summer’s World Cup.