Arsene Wenger must find a way to change Sandro Rosell’s mind and land David Villa during January’s transfer window.
"I completely rule out the transfer of Villa during the winter market,” the Barcelona president told radio station RAC1, according to The Telegraph. "He is ours and we need him, there is a lot of the season left."
That development echoed an early December commitment to Villa by Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona’s director of football. Zubizarreta said the team will keep Villa in January because Barca is not a club that deals star players in January, according to Christy Malyan of Footballfancast.com.
Rosell’s persistence that Villa will remain with the Spanish side could be genuine, but then again it could be a great bargaining ploy.
Villa’s services are sought by other Premier League clubs as well. By claiming he is unavailable and a valued member of his side, Rosell could be creating a bidding war between his potential suitors.
But what does Villa want?
Last week, rumors circled that indicated Villa wanted out of Camp Nou due to his diminished role in the club’s plans, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.
Mokbel said, prior to Rosell’s statements, that Barca are looking for a £16 million fee in order to part ways with Villa. However, the club still owes money to Wenger from Alex Song’s transfer from the Emirates over the summer.
If Villa truly desires a leap to the English league, Rosell could cash in big and add a less pricey alternative to his bench to fill the void.
This is also a good time to begin thinking about moving Villa, whose contract will expire this summer. Barca hasn’t missed a beat over the past two seasons, despite Villa’s role lessening more and more each year.
Will Rosell stay true to his word and keep Villa at Camp Nou?
Villa, 31, is still a valuable asset for a club like Arsenal who are fighting to hang on. The underperforming side would greatly benefit from the Spanish international’s fluidity and consistency on the pitch.
He would add an electric and intimidating striker to the front of the Gunners’ attack that has fallen stale after the departure of Robin van Persie.
Villa may not add the same star power and lethality of RVP, but he would certainly help invigorate a lackluster and struggling attack.
Landing Villa may be enough to turn the tide of the Gunners' struggles. He may not single-handedly be the change needed, but he could be the catalyst to a revival at the Emirates.
Wenger has a heavy task at hand if he is to outbid Liverpool and any other potential suitors. He also has some significant work to do if he hopes to convince Rosell to let go of Villa prior to the summer.