After a season where David Villa played various roles for Barcelona, the striker's quest for consistent first-team football caused him to land with Atletico Madrid.
FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of David Villa.
The deal is set to bring Barça a maximum of 5.1 million Euros, with 2.1 due this season, 2 more if Villa stays at Atletico next year and another million should he be at the Madrid club the season after. Barça also reserve the right to 50% of any sell on fee in the future.
Villa spent three seasons with the La Liga powerhouse. He thrived in his first campaign with the club, scoring 23 goals across all competitions. A leg injury derailed his second season, however, and he was never able to reestablish himself as a starter.
Barcelona moved more toward an attack centered around Lionel Messi. It led to more playing time off the bench for Villa when he returned from injury. In his final season with the club, 16 of his 37 appearances in league and Champions League play were as a substitute.
For a player of Villa's caliber, it's tough to reach peak form without playing a full complement of minutes. And things weren't going to get any better following the arrival of Neymar, who agreed to a deal with Barcelona after much speculation.
The move should allow the Spanish international to once again become the focal point of the attack. It's in that role that he excelled with Valencia for five seasons, which opened the door for a move to Barcelona. There's no doubting his talent.
At 31, Villa should still have a couple very productive seasons left. It makes him well worth the investment and gives him a chance to prove he still has what it takes to shine in one of the world's top leagues.
The most important thing to remember is that he wasn't phased out at Barcelona due to a lack of ability. Barca is stacked with talent and can attract even more, like Neymar, through the transfer market, which always causes a few players to slip through the cracks.
That was the case for Villa after his injury. The club had moved in a different direction and it prevented him from making the same type of impact. It doesn't mean he won't reclaim his status as an elite striker moving forward.
His terrific combination of pace, on-ball skills and finishing ability are still on par with many top-level forwards. He just needs the chance to prove it, and that should come next season. It shouldn't take long for the veteran to adapt to his new surroundings.
Villa is still a special player, and that's why he remained a coveted transfer commodity. Now he gets the chance to put his skills on display with a new club.