BeLated Happy New Year Having gone for my annual leave for the lager part of last month, I didn’t get the chance to wish you one, but it’s not too late though.
Unlike in England where the league doesn’t stop for the winter break, the rest of European leagues including Spanish La Liga have been on recess and only returning this weekend. The Germany Bundesliga, returns next weekend.
While I have been away, a lot of water has passed under the bridge in La Liga. With Barcelona running away with the title thanks mainly to their 16-point cushion over their archrivals Real Madrid, most of the talk this month will be on the transfer window.
And if the speculations on the gossip pages are anything to take serious, Barcelona striker David Villa is destined for a January move from the Nou Camp.
A number of clubs including five from England and one in Italy are reportedly interested in prizing the 31-year-old away, and the record top scorer for Spain national team might just have his choice of a new team.
European champions Chelsea and their Spanish manager Rafa Benitez have been linked with a bid for Villa but after signing Demba Ba from Newcastle United, I don’t see them continuing their pursuit of the Spain international.
Speculations indicated that Chelsea would prefer a loan deal for the former Valencia forward, who has struggled to rediscover his old form, mainly due to injuries, and playing under the shadow of Lionel Messi could be having its negative impact on him.
Villa, whose current contract runs through the 2013-14, is reportedly available for 16 million Pounds.
Meanwhile, English champions Manchester City could be crying Villa as a replacement for Sergio Aguero.
According to reports in the English media, Aguero is upset with manager Roberto Mancini because the Italian has on several occasions criticised the team’s failure to score enough goals—but I couldn’t read too much into this as I find it merely a page filler. City don’t need another striker before they offload the indifferent Mario Balotelli.
Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurs and Swansea City as well as Italian champions Juventus have also been linked to Villa, and all clubs would benefit from the arrival of a classy striker, who seems to be low on confidence and seeking for a team where he would be treated as the star man.
If he decides to leave Barcelona, Villa would probably want to play for a Champions League team, which puts Chelsea, Man City, Juve and Arsenal the more likely destinations. Spurs and Swansea or even his former club Valencia don’t offer top European football every season.
At Barca, Villa, one of the best finishers in the world, finds himself in a tough situation, having played a handful of league matches this season due to competition for places, so at City he would face a similarly competitive atmosphere and would not be guaranteed first-team football.
Chelsea have Torres and Ba, although the former has struggled to perform consistently. The same is true for both Arsenal and Juventus, that have strikers, who are only struggling for form. Juve have also been linked with Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente, who is available for free.