Not long ago, the Barcelona and Spain striker was the most sought-after in the world. Now, after three seasons at the Camp Nou, Villa looks to have fallen out of favour at Barcelona.
Rather unsurprisingly, this turn of events has alerted clubs all over Europe that hope to recruit Villa either this January or next summer. With 53 goals in 85 games for Spain, Villa still has a reputation as one of the world's top goal scorers.
Here are the five most likely transfer destinations for Barcelona striker David Villa.
It’s true that the Swans have had close links to Spain for several years. They were, of course, once managed by Roberto Martinez, and over the seasons have signed a string of Spanish players, with Premier League top scorer Michu in particular proving to be a massive hit.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is a huge name in Spain, and amongst the Premier League’s bosses, he has unrivalled contacts in La Liga. Despite all of these plus-points, it would still be a major surprise if Swansea could pull off Villa's transfer. The transfer fee would not be insurmountable, but Villa’s wage demands could be.
If Villa wants to be guaranteed a starting place every week until the 2014 World Cup, then South Wales could be the best place for him to go. If he still has a hunger to win major honours and earn a premium wage, there are probably better destinations.
One Premier League club where Villa would be guaranteed to challenge for honours is Manchester City. With the former Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain now working for City, Steve Bates of The Mirror has linked the reigning Premier League champions with a move for Villa.
Mario Balotelli looks like he is on his way out of City, while the long-term future of Edin Dzeko is unclear, so it certainly seems likely that they will be in the market for a striker sooner rather than later.
Villa would be at home in the centre of City’s front room or cutting in from wide. Such versatility would surely appeal to Roberto Mancini, who regularly rotates his front players, both in terms of personnel and position.
With Klaas-Jan Huntelaar having signed a new contract with Schalke, Arsenal’s shopping list of world-class strikers has already been reduced by one. Sami Mokbel of The Daily Mail has claimed that Villa is one of the players still on the list, and that Arsenal are interested in the potential of both a loan or permanent deal.
Arsenal may appeal to Villa, because like Swansea they can offer him regular starts, operating in a central position. Unlike Swansea, the Gunners can potentially also offer Champions League football, the chance to challenge for honours, high wages and the opportunity to live in London.
The Spanish contingent is already strong at the Emirates, with Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta pulling the strings in midfield. One senses that their compatriot Villa would fit in perfectly at Arsenal and fill the gaping hole that Robin van Persie created when he left the club.
If a move to the hustle and bustle of Premier League doesn’t tickle Villa’s fancy, perhaps he would consider a spell in nearby Italy.
After Nicklas Bendtner recently picked up an injury that will keep him out for two months, Juventus are in the market for a striker. TalkSport has reported that Juventus will be at the front of the queue should Villa become available.
Serie A clubs don’t have the spending power that they once did, so being able to buy a world-class talent such as Villa at a reduced price makes sense for the Old Lady. Villa might also find the slower pace of Serie A a more comfortable an environment than the Premier League, having only recently returned from a major injury.
If Villa prefers to stay in Spain, perhaps a return to his old club Valencia could provide the perfect swan-song to the striker’s career.
Valencia president Manuel Llorente recently told the Spanish media that Villa would always have a place at the Mestalla. Valencia are still heavily in debt, but their finances are in a decidedly better shape than when they sold Villa to Barcelona.
Could they afford the deal? That is the big doubt, but football clubs have been known to make moves than don’t necessarily make financial sense when it comes to recruiting a favoured son. The Valencia fans are currently unhappy at the way the club is being run and signing Villa would certainly calm them down a bit.