David Villa: 5 Reasons He Would Be the Perfect January Signing for Liverpool
The January transfer window is still some way away, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and his scouting team will be hard at work drawing up a list of potential targets for the Reds.
As always with a club like Liverpool, media speculation has been rife in regards to who the club might sign once the transfer market opens. Many players who have been linked over the years have once again had their names connected with the club.
It is clear that Liverpool will need to add players to their squad in January, especially in attack. A disappointing end to the summer transfer window saw Rodgers left short in terms of attacking talent and the Reds have struggled to score goals this season.
But this is not a new issue for the Reds.
Liverpool dominated many games last season but lacked a penalty-box predator to convert the chances they created. The burden fell on Luis Suarez who, despite being a capable goalscorer, is not a natural finisher.
This season, the Reds have once again had to rely on Suarez to be their main source of goal. And while he has scored five league goals already, he cannot be expected to score 30 each season while also being the team's main creative force.
Quite simply, Liverpool need to add goals to their lineup in January and they possibly need to bring in two players who can score them.
In the last week on Bleacher Report Jake Ware makes a compelling case for the signing of Celtic's Gary Hooper and Nick Goss has given his thoughts on a potential move for Darren Bent of Aston Villa. Personally I would prefer Hooper to Bent every time.
In an ideal world, though, I'd like to see Liverpool aim a little higher.
I'd like to see them sign a player who has been linked to Liverpool frequently over the last six or seven years since Rafa Benitez initially tried to bring him to the club.
I would like to see them to bring David Villa to Anfield on loan. Here are five reasons why this move would make sense for all parties involved.
He Scores Goals for Fun
The first reason is the most obvious one. David Villa scores goals and he does so at a rate that very few strikers can match.
In 537 career matches at club level, Villa has scored 268 goals. A career record of one goal every two games. Last season, a season cut short by a broken leg, was the first season since the 2000/01 season that Villa didn't score at least 20 goals for his club side. He managed 20 goals a season for 10 consecutive seasons.
Even before the leg break Villa was being hampered by falling out of favour with then Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who preferred to play big-money signing Alexis Sanchez instead of Villa. Had Villa been starting regularly for Barcelona and not broken his leg, his streak of 20 goals a season would most likely still be running.
So a club record of one goal every two games. It doesn't get much better than that, unless you're David Villa of course.
At international level, Villa has been even more impressive and has notched a record 52 goals in 87 appearances for the Spanish national team. It's quite a staggering record, and while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo might be able to point to better goalscoring records at club level, Villa leaves them trailing at the international one.
320 goals in 624 career appearances is a record anyone would be proud of, but to suggest he only scores goals would be to sell Villa short—he also has 87 assists to his name.
Liverpool need a goalscorer, Villa is one of the very best. He could well be the answer to Liverpool's problems.
He Fits the Style of Play
Barcelona and Spain, Spain and Barcelona. Arguably the greatest club team ever assembled and unquestionably the most dominant international team of all time.
Villa played a huge part in Spain's run of dominance between late 2006, when he replaced the legendary Raul in the team, and late 2011, when he broke his leg. And while his teammates successfully defended their European Championship title, his absence was noticeable.
Without him, Spain lacked a true cutting edge upfront and were forced to play Cesc Fabregas as a "False 9" throughout most of the tournament. Villa had played a key role in the triumphs of 2008, although he missed the final, and 2010 for a Spanish team that has now won three consecutive major international tournaments.
It had never been done before, it may never be done again. What's even more impressive is that they have done it with largely the same group of players. They will almost certainly go to Brazil in 2014 as the favorites to retain their World Cup and who would bet against them doing so?
Obviously Villa currently plays his club football for Barcelona and he scored a decisive goal in the 2011 Champions League final victory over Manchester United. The key factor here isn't so much the teams he plays for, as impressive as they are, more the fact that he is a key player in the styles of play both teams utilize.
It's the same style of play that Brendan Rodgers is slowly trying to introduce to Liverpool. Villa is an excellent passer of the ball, he's intelligent and his movement off the ball is second to none.
He's exactly what Liverpool need in an attacker.
He's also versatile. Obviously his natural position is central, but at Barcelona he's often played on the right or left of the front three in which Lionel Messi is the center-point. Before he goes roaming around the field that is.
Villa's shown himself to be more than capable in the wide position where his intelligent movement and ability to lose defenders with ease allowed him to ghost into the space created by Messi dropping deep or wide.
Luis Suarez plays that central role for Liverpool, and Brendan Rodgers may wish to keep him there. Such a decision would not rule out the signing of Villa, because he could easily play to Suarez's left.
Suarez, as we know, doesn't stay central during games. He pops up everywhere, tormenting defenders with his wonderful dribbling ability and outrageous skill. With Suarez on the move, Villa could roam to the center and find space.
Having Villa on the left would also be of benefit to Raheem Sterling on the right, as it would give him a far-post target when he's skinned a defender and burst into space. This would be a change from having to find Suarez in a crowd or pull the ball back to the edge of the box for an onrushing Nuri Sahin or Steven Gerrard, he could flash it across goal in the knowledge that Villa will have made a move in that direction.
He's Vastly Experienced
David Villa will turn 31 in December. He is currently in the 14th season of his professional career and has played for over a decade in the top league in Spain.
He has been an international for seven years and has played in everything from friendly matches to the World Cup final.
He has won a league title, domestic cups, the European Cup, the European Champions and, of course, the World Cup. He has also picked up a laundry list of individual honors along the way.
He has literally been there, done that and had T-shirts made in his honor.
Aside from Luis Suarez, the only two strikers in the senior Liverpool squad are 21-year-old Italian international Fabio Borini and 18-year-old German prodigy Samed Yesil.
These are two players with bags of potential but no real experience in the game.
Borini has had an unusual career as he moved to Chelsea from boyhood club Bologna at the age of 16. He stayed at Chelsea for four years but despite an impressive record for the Chelsea reserves, he didn't quite make the breakthrough with the London club and left in 2011 when his contract expired.
Before his permanent departure from Chelsea, he spent a couple of months on loan at Swansea under Brendan Rodgers and helped get the Welsh side promoted to the Premier League. While Swansea were desperate to keep him, Borini had already agreed a pre-contract with Italian club Parma before joining Rodgers' team.
In typical Italian style, Borini never kicked a ball for Parma in anger, and Roma swooped in to take him in a rather complicated loan deal. Borini impressed during his first season with the Rome giants, scoring 10 goals in 26 appearances despite largely playing in a wide role or coming off the bench.
When Brendan Rodgers was appointed Liverpool manager, he made the signing of Borini a priority. And after Roma and Parma had concluded an auction, which saw Roma secure his rights, the Reds moved in to get their man.
He has had a hit-and-miss start to life at Anfield, but his potential has often shone through despite being played out of position. His off-the-ball movement and work rate have been excellent and there are comparisons to be drawn with former Liverpool hero Dirk Kuyt. Borini doesn't cover quite as much ground as Kuyt but he is undoubtedly a more talented footballer who has bags of potential.
Yesil is Germany's top striking talent at under-19 level and has so far bagged eight goals in six appearances for the team. This follows on from a strike-rate of 20 in 21 games for the under-17 team.
Yesil is a prolific goalscorer with natural finishing ability. He's the type of young striker Liverpool have not had since Robbie Fowler burst on to the scene.
He was brought through the ranks of Bayer Leverkusen, having joined the club at the age of 11, and had a fantastic scoring record at underage level. He looked like spending this season in the reserves with the possibility of some first-team appearances. That is, until Liverpool stepped in.
The Reds secured his signature at a bargain price and shortly afterwards, Brendan Rodgers spoke of fast-tracking him to first-team level, such is his talent.
He made his Liverpool debut in the Capital One Cup against West Bromwich Albion and gave a good account of himself. He was unlucky not to score when he flashed a header just wide after making a great near-post run.
With Borini currently out injured, Yesil may well find himself called upon in Premier League action in the very near future.
There's no doubting the ability of these boys. They have bags of talent and big futures ahead of them.
Villa can help shape those futures by acting as a mentor to them at Liverpool. Both of them have similar styles of play to Villa—Yesil more-so than Borini, it must be said. But they will need guidance and an experienced voice to help them.
It has often been said that Gary McAllister played a huge part in Steven Gerrard's development during his time at Liverpool just over a decade ago. McAllister was able to teach Gerrard about the finer points of midfield play and the young man from Huyton has gone on to become one of Liverpool's best ever players.
Villa could offer the same type of guidance to Borini and Yesil, as well as to other young strikers like Adam Morgan and particularly Jerome Sinclair. Sinclair is the crown jewel of Liverpool's academy and has already become the club's youngest ever player.
If Villa was to spend six months working with these young lads, with possibility of a further year to come afterwards, it would greatly benefit the club in the long term as well as the short term.
He's Got a Point to Prove
A move to Liverpool would give David Villa a couple of opportunities.
Firstly, it would give him the opportunity to live and play football in a new country.
Secondly, it would give him the opportunity to play regular first-team football as a starter.
And finally, it would give him the opportunity to prove a point.
Pep Guardiola began the process of phasing Villa out of the Barcelona team as he disappeared into his own imagination and began to try and prove that strikers and defenders were not actually needed to win football matches.
Guardiola's experimentation with his team and his system played a large role in the club's failure to retain their league title last season.
His former assistant and now Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has reigned back the experimentation somewhat, although he too has played with a recognized defender at times, largely down to injury issues.
Despite the change of manager, Villa has still found himself on the outside looking in at Barcelona.
Chances have not been forthcoming and that doesn't appear likely to change as the Catalan giants have marched clear at the top of the La Liga table.
This isn't something an experienced superstar like Villa is likely to be happy with and he could well be looking for a move away from Barcelona to show those at Barcelona that he's still one of the best in the world at what he does.
If he was able to do that, it would also go a long way towards helping him win back his place in the national team.
Liverpool can offer him the chance to do that.
Brendan Rodgers has said that Liverpool do not have wheelbarrows full of money to spend, and they don't.
Liverpool are working on a limited budget at the moment and Rodgers is having to be careful with his moves in the transfer market.
A loan move for Villa, initially for six months with a possible option for a further 12 to follow, would be the perfect move for Rodgers from a financial standpoint. It would mean he does not have to dip too deeply into his transfer kitty, which he may well like to save so that he can secure the signing of Nuri Sahin.
He would only need to pay a loan fee to nab the prolific Spaniard, a fee that likely would not be too high for an initial six-month loan.
When Villa signed for Barcelona in 2010, he signed a four-year contract with an option for a further year on it. He will become a free agent in either 2014 or 2015 depending on whether that option is taken up. If the Reds were to take him on loan for a total period of 18 months, it is likely they would have to agree to pay a fee at the end of that time to cover that option year as neither Villa nor Barcelona would be likely to take it up.
Villa's wages would not be a major issue either. He is currently earning roughly £5.7 million ($9.2 million) a year at Barcelona which is roughly £110,000 a week. While that may sound steep and come across like something the owners would not want to pay, it is actually little more than Jay Spearing and Andy Carroll earn between them.
With Spearing and Carroll currently off the wage bill, and likely to be off it permanently come the end of the season, Villa's wages would not be a huge burden on the club.
The owners owe Rodgers after their poor decision making on the last day of the summer window and are unlikely to say no if he were to approach them over the possibility to loan a player like Villa for a minimal fee. The wage issue at Liverpool is that the owners want to see players earning big money like big-money players.
Villa could do that.
For Barcelona's part, they would likely be happy to have an unhappy player out of the club and off the wage bill. As they have shown in the past, they do not mind making losses on transfer fees. Zlatan Ibrahimovich is a prime example of that.
I'm sure there will be plenty of comments on this article that will consist of little more than "David Villa would never sign for Liverpool." Insightful stuff really, but not offering any evidence of why he wouldn't.
I believe Villa would take this move for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, he wants to play every week and Liverpool is a club with whom he would be a certain starter.
Secondly, he simply may not have any better options. Villa has played in the Champions League this season for Barcelona and thus would be unable to join a club competing in the competition. Champions League football is not going to be a priority for David Villa.
The idea that all top players will only move for Champions League football has been debunked many times in the past anyway, but Villa simply would want to move for football.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, Villa has been linked to Liverpool for a number of years and possibly would have made the move if Rafa Benitez had been given the financial backing he required.
I can't confirm or deny the truth of this, but in the past month or so there was a rumor coming from certain well-connected bloggers in Spain that before he broke his leg, David Villa had agreed to join Liverpool on loan in January of 2012. Based on the timeline of events at Barcelona, this does seem possible as he wasn't first-choice and was said to have fallen out with Lionel Messi.
If Villa was willing to join a year ago, there's no reason to believe he wouldn't be willing to do so now.
He's exactly what Liverpool need, and Liverpool are exactly what he needs.
It truly is a move that makes sense.