The veteran Spaniard, famous for triumphs with both club and country, has fallen out of favor with his La Liga powerhouse, and Arsenal have taken notice (The Daily Mail):
It is understood Villa is positive about joining the Gunners after hearing of Arsene Wenger's strong interest, which was first revealed by Sportsmail in December.
Talks between the Gunners and Barca chiefs are ongoing and the Premier League club remain hopeful a deal for Villa can be achieved towards the end of the transfer window.
Moving one of the world's highest-profile players to one of the world's highest-profile clubs would obviously get a lot of attention throughout the globe. But does that necessarily make it a good move?
Here are three contrarian arguments from the camp of "nay."
Villa broke his leg two Decembers ago and hasn't looked quite like himself ever since. The injury was supposed to keep him out for six months (via ESPN), but due to the nature of scheduling, instead forced him to take an eight-month sabbatical from football.
He scored just nine minutes into his Barcelona return, but since then things haven't been quite so grand. He's been in-and-out of the club's lineup for reasons that include both injury (he's recently dealt with a nagging hamstring) and declining form (just 10 goals in his last 28 La Liga appearances).
Arsenal would have to spend a pretty penny on acquiring Villa, an investment that would be quite risky given such a dismal recent resume. That money could be spent on a young striker, or a hot striker, or a durable striker—maybe even someone who's all of the three.
Why spend it on a guy who's none of them?
More Pressing Needs
The Gunners need to forge their own identity in the Premiership, and building a first-class defense is much easier than building a first-class attack. It would require a diligent, multi-year overhaul to assemble an offense capable of scoring with Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. You can equal them short-term, and you can compete on the long, but you can't reasonably equal them over a lengthy period.
But Arsenal aren't that far away from sporting a top-flight defense—one capable of deftly containing such potent attacks. They've allowed just 26 goals in 22 games, and with one or two more additions, that rate could get even lower.
With names like Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Mohamed Diame both available, and linked with the Gunners, Arsene Wenger would be better off spending his money elsewhere.
David Villa's career has taken him from Sporting Gijon, to Real Zaragoza, to Valencia, to Barcelona. Four senior clubs, four discrete stints in La Liga. The only other colors he's worn have been the red and blue of Spain's national team—a side who's play is even more insular than his club.
Who's to say he'll be compatible in the Premiership?
The skill, finesse and brio have little-to-no place in foggy England. The Premiership is a gauntlet of size, strength and technical precision. It's a style we don't know if Villa can assimilate to because it's a style he's never been asked to.
We also don't know how golden that finishing boot will be with less playmakers around him. Arsenal aren't exactly wanting for guys who can create, but compared to the rosters of Spain and Barcelona they're cupboard is more or less bare.
On paper, Villa's transition would appear easier than flashier teammates Messi, Xavi or Iniesta. Of the Barcelona stars, he probably has the most translatable game.
But again: Is it really worth spending all that money to find out?