David Villa: Why Barcelona Star Should Choose Arsenal over Manchester City
Barcelona striker David Villa looks set to be one of the last big names of the January window being involved in a battle for his signature, with both Arsenal and Manchester City wanting to complete a transfer for him.
The former Valencia forward is in demand from the two Premier League sides after not managing to work his way back into the first team on a regular basis since recovering from his broken leg last year.
Villa has started only seven times in La Liga for Barça and has had seven appearances as a substitute, scoring five times this season.
Both clubs have huge stature in the English game, but despite their different objectives for the remainder of the season, here's why Villa would do well to choose Arsenal over City.
Less Competition for Striker Role
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City might have offloaded Balotelli, but three top-class strikers remain present and correct at the Etihad Stadium.
Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero will all take plenty of shifting if Villa wants to win a first-team place ahead of them, with Balotelli making by far the fewest league appearances for the Citizens this season out of the quartet.
He'd also scored fewest goals—just one in the Premiership, compared to 10, seven and eight respectively for the other three.
Over at Arsenal, with Marouane Chamakh having departed on loan and Andriy Arshavin nothing more than a gap-filler on the bench, the only out-and-out centre forward is Olivier Giroud.
Lukas Podolski, Gervinho and Theo Walcott can all of course play centrally, but crucially, they regularly feature in the wider areas of the pitch.
Given the choice between Giroud, who has admittedly improved recently, and the proven quality of David Villa, it is entirely probable that Arsene Wenger would opt to play the Spaniard more often than not.
Tactics More Suited at Arsenal If Villa Continues to Play from the Left
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On the other hand, like Arsenal's other forwards, Villa does offer an amount of tactical flexibility in that he plays the majority of his games for Barcelona from the left side of the attack.
While certainly a different option to the regular in that spot (Podolski), Villa would give Arsenal a real goal threat cutting in from the channel and potentially a good foil to either Walcott or Giroud, whoever was playing as the centre forward.
Over at Manchester City, the left-sided attacker's role is somewhat different, with Samir Nasri usually playing a creative, withdrawn role who tucks in as an additional central attacking midfielder.
Again, variation would be a good thing—but if Roberto Mancini wanted someone to drive in from that flank and attack the goal often, he's already got Scott Sinclair sitting on his bench.
His Experience and Winning Mentality Would Prove Invaluable to Arsenal
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It's been quite a while since Arsenal last won a trophy now—an FA Cup win in 2005 on penalties remains the last silverware that a Gunners captain hoisted.
Almost eight years on, Arsenal have at times been criticised for not having enough leadership, not having enough experienced heads in the side and not having enough "winners"—however that particular intangible is defined.
In any case, David Villa ticks all three boxes.
He might arrive too late to add any serious damage to silverware-chasing attacks this season, but for future campaigns he would bring the weight of his World Cup win, European Championship victory, multiple league titles and even Champions League triumphs to the stage.
Not to mention he is Spain's all-time record goal scorer.
That kind of pedigree has to rub off on impressionable youngsters, as well as having a real impact on the pitch with regularity.
The Title Race Might Already Be over but Arsenal Have Much to Play for
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While immediate trophy additions might be out of reach for Arsenal, they certainly still have a battle on their hands for a top-four place and to secure Champions League football next season once more.
In that regard, Villa could be a priceless addition to the squad, if he provides the goals which help amass enough points to lift the Gunners from their present sixth position and back above big rivals Spurs in particular.
For Manchester City, they might have loftier ambitions for a mere top-four finish in trying to retain their title, but the 0-0 draw with bottom club QPR might prove the final nail in a quickly closing coffin as far as that is concerned.
Manchester United now lead the table by four points, with a game in hand and only a further 14 matches to play. The title might already be realistically out of reach for City by the end of the transfer window—whereas Villa could prove his value and give Arsenal an immediate return on their investment if he fires them to a Champions League place once more.