Why David Villa Would Be a Great Buy for Arsenal
With Robin van Persie almost certainly headed for pastures new this summer, the football world has been set alight with seemingly endless transfer rumours surrounding his club, Arsenal, and any potential moves they may make in order to secure his replacement.
The want-away Dutch hit-man would leave a huge gap in the attack of the Gunners, and as a result the media have been particularly busy, conjuring up names and trying to confirm rumours as to which strikers are on Arsene Wenger's shopping list.
While many Arsenal fans may not believe a replacement for the club captain is entirely necessary—especially now that Wenger has signed both Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to long-term contracts—there is a growing contingent of unsatisfied Gunners hoping for further developments on the transfer front.
In their minds the acquisitions of further world-class talents, filling needs at forward, attacking midfielder and full-back, would greatly enhance Arsenal's chances of success in the coming season.
It is difficult to disagree.
Talents like Stevan Jovetic, Robert Lewandowski and Fernando Llorente have all been linked with long-term moves to the Emirates Stadium this summer—all three would be assured of hearty welcomes from the delighted Arsenal faithful.
Now, there are many facets of Villa—various characteristics, both physical and personal—which would contradict Wenger's typical purchase in transfer windows.
Straight off the bat, there's his age.
At 30 years old, Villa is older than Van Persie, Giroud and Podolski, as well as Arsenal's other forwards, Marouane Chamakh, Park Ju-Young, Gervinho and Nicklas Bendtner.
That alone contradicts Wenger's traditional rule of thumb when acquiring players through the transfer market: He is notorious for wanting to develop younger players, though this policy has mellowed in recent years.
However, despite Villa's exceptional career in La Liga, which has lasted more than a decade, there comes with age varying doubts about whether or not he is past his prime.
Then there is the fact he hasn't played a competitive football match since breaking his left tibia in mid-December 2011, marking over seven months without on-pitch action, given his absence from Spain's victorious Euro 2012 side. This marked rustiness certainly doesn't serve as a plus factor in any scouting report Arsene's men might compile.
But despite these worries, at the core of his game, Villa remains one of the most feared attackers on the continent.
At the international level, Villa is his country's leading goal scorer, with 51 goals from just 82 appearances, eclipsing the record set by legendary compatriot Raul. He's also been prolific during his relatively short spell at Barcelona, with 34 goals from 68 appearances in all competitions.
In terms of technical attributes, Villa is a fantastically well-rounded centre-forward. His ability to score with both feet and his head is married perfectly by his creativity, speed and agility in the 18-yard box.
His proven track record of scoring goals at the highest level for both club and country speaks for itself, but his experience and maturity as a striker are what could be his most attractive facets for Wenger.
In Giroud Arsenal have picked up a strong, powerful centre-forward fresh from a championship-winning season with Montpellier. With Van Persie seemingly out of the picture, Wenger would be hard pressed to think of a better mentor for the recently acquired Frenchman than David Villa, leading to an excellent working partnership on and off the pitch.
With rumours abound that Barcelona are indeed willing to sign Van Persie as a replacement for the unsettled Villa, Arsenal would do well to capitalise on the situation by replacing their outgoing talisman with a slightly older but more mature and experienced talent in David Villa.
It may be unlikely, but much stranger things have happened in football.
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