Barcelona Transfer News: Tito Vilanova Smart to Keep David Villa

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 14, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 10:  David Villa of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their second goal during the Copa del Rey round of sixteen second leg match between FC Barcelona and Cordoba CF at Camp Nou on January 10, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Against Cordoba last Thursday, David Villa proved that he still deserves time in Barcelona's starting 11. 

Manager Tito Vilanova's most recent comments regarding the transfer rumors surrounding his talented striker suggest he shares a similar view (via FOX Sports):

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has reiterated that striker David Villa will not be leaving the Catalan club.

The Spain international has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp after finding first-team opportunities limited this season following his recover from a serious leg injury, with Arsenal one of the clubs believed to be interested in the 31-year-old forward.

However, Barca have consistently dismissed suggestions Villa could be sold during the January transfer window and Vilanova repeated that stance following his side's 3-1 victory over Malaga Sunday night.

He told reporters: "David is not going to leave. We are very happy with him.''

It's hard to judge a player by a single match, especially one against the likes of Cordoba in the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. 

But Villa, who has scored 163 goals in 268 La Liga matches in the last nine seasons leading up to this one, deserves the benefit of the doubt. When he looks like a world-class player, no matter the opponent, you take notice.

And he looked classier than world-class on Thursday. 

First, he put together this brilliant goal:

Then, just moments later, he struck this clinical finish to complete the brace:

Villa has been unable to stay healthy, and as a result, has been unable to find consistent opportunities with Barca's first team. But that's no reason to sell low on the Spanish striker. 

When he is at 100 percent, he is one the world's best forwards. He is simply too talented to keep off the pitch, no matter how much depth the Catalans boast. 

Would Barcelona be fine without Villa? Absolutely, but that doesn't mean Vilanova needs to make a rash decision about the 31-year-old. 

If Villa's play diminishes when healthy, then it would be time to start looking to sell him. But for now, the Catalans would be best served to hold onto the amazing talent and wait for him to recover from his various injuries.

Otherwise, they'll be forced to watch him score more braces somewhere else in Europe.