Could David Villa join Arsenal in this Transfer window?
Arsenal clinched fourth spot in the Premiership after a hard-fought win over Newcastle United, which now seems ages ago due to the various rumours flooding in regarding various players in this transfer window. It will be a crucial window for the Gunners and a top striker should be among the top priorities in this transfer window.
With the Gunners favourites to qualify for the Champions League next season, they can attract the top players around the world. Arsenal have also recently extended the shirt sponsorship and Stadium rights deal with Emirates and it will also bring in much needed extra revenue to the club.
Arsene Wenger endured a hard and difficult campaign in the last season, having to sell his captain Robin van Persie just before the start of this season. In addition to that, he also sold Alex Song, who by now should have marked his favourite seat on the bench at Camp Nou. The Frenchman received plenty of criticism for most of the season and only after their superb finish to the season, it has calmed down.
This summer provides a great opportunity for the Gunners to build on what seems to be a decent platform and for that to happen. Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and the rest of the staff must work hard on not only buying top players, but also in shifting the deadwood players who absorb a large chunk of the wages.
In the last season, Olivier Giroud shouldered much of the responsibilities as the main striker, and he also came under lot of pressure at times due to his erratic finishing. Though he is a good player and a valuable asset to the team, he is currently not world class, and his finishing is not precise enough for a top striker. Also, it was a huge problem in the recently concluded season that there was no other player who could effectively deputize for the Frenchman.
Theo Walcott has shown desire to play as the central striker but the Englishman, when given the chance, has had inconsistent performances. For example, in the game against Bayern Munich at home, Walcott was very ineffective for the entire time he played as the central striker while he was in irresistible form against Newcastle United where he scored a hat-trick.
There are some attributes for Theo which will help him score goals playing as the centre-forward, but his overall link-up/hold-up play is not great and that is why Wenger eventually decided that his best position was that of a right winger who was given the latitude to make inside channel runs and score goals.
It is not clear whether Wenger still sees him as an option for the central striking role, considering that it was Lukas Podolski who played as the centre-forward in the final four games of the season. The German was also not very effective which is why the manager will have to look for another striker. One of the players who has been consistently linked with the Gunners is David Villa, the 31-year-old striker who is out of favour at Barcelona.
With the arrival of Brazilian star Neymar, the Spanish striker is certainly on his way out of Barcelona, especially as this season is a chance to prove he is still good enough for the World Cup.
Could Santi Cazorla and David Villa link up with each other at Arsenal?
Despite being 31 years old, the Spanish striker still remains one of the best finishers in the world and brings with him vast experience and winning mentality to the squad. His movement and runs off the ball are fantastic and enable him to get behind defences, though he lacks his electric pace of old. The Spaniard has the ability to score different types of goals and can prove to be a nightmare to defend, especially when he is on form.
His ability to score vital goals is also well documented with the striker scoring in crucial games such as the Champions League Final and during several key moments in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"El Guaje" is a player who will fit in well with the Arsenal style of play and will add a lot more threat to this current team. Also, he is a completely different striker compared to Olivier Giroud, which provides more variety. Though it is not a priority at this moment, he is also the ideal player to sign if Arsene Wenger was keen on developing Theo Walcott as a central striker, which is the role that the Englishman covets.
Though his best position is that of a centre-forward, he is also quite versatile and can also play effectively on the wings as he did for most of his time at Barcelona. The Spaniard's link-up and hold-up play is also good and can also play in tandem with another striker, which is also an option for Wenger, considering that both Giroud and Villa are very different players.
Villa is keen to go to the World Cup and assume the role of the main striker for his country, but for that to happen he must play regularly at club level. He will get that opportunity with Arsenal, should he start the season well, and his own personal ambition will also be good for the Gunners as he will look to keep up his form and fitness.
Can Villa recapture his best form in the Premiership?
If Arsenal do sign David Villa, then it is most likely to solve their striking problems for the short term, considering his age and level of fitness. The Spaniard is undoubtedly a lethal striker, but the question is whether he will be able to adapt to the frenetic pace of the Premiership, considering his patchy fitness record in the last two years. He has suffered two leg breaks, and though he has returned to full fitness, he has not been in peak form for most of the last year at FC Barcelona.
The Spaniard will only be a stop-gap solution at Arsenal, and he can be expected to be a top striker only for the next two seasons, considering he will be almost 34 in just two years. Also, his injury record is a concern, considering the physicality of the Premier League, and there is a chance he could be subject to rough tackles in the Premiership.
Arsenal will be able to play to his strengths, but the question is whether he is still fit enough to play three games in a week. If David Villa's fitness is a problem, then the Gunners will need to find another top striker in the next season or even the January transfer window if they are in desperate need for a player.
Is there Value for Money in signing 31-year-old David Villa?
With only one year left on his contract, the price for David Villa can be estimated to be around €12-15 million. The Gunners will certainly be able to afford the transfer fee, as well as his wages, but the question is whether it will be worth the money should they opt to sign him.
Villa will certainly be a huge boost to this current Arsenal team as he would add that extra quality which teams need to win trophies. For example, Manchester United had to shell out close to €30 million to land the 28-year-old Robin van Persie, who duly delivered for the Red Devils.
Though Tottenham and Liverpool will also be in the hunt to sign him, Arsenal will be the clear favourites considering that they could be playing in the Champions League should they win the qualifier. Also, Arsenal have Spaniards Mikel Arteta (who could be captain for the next season), Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal and that might also help in convincing David Villa to join the Gunners.
Though Barcelona will look to drive up the price, it is quite safe to say none of the Premier League clubs among the aforementioned trio will overpay for the Spaniard. The Gunners, though, will probably have close to no resale value on the Spaniard which is a risk especially if he does not do well in the Premiership.
There will be lesser takers for the striker if he is unsuccessful at Arsenal, and considering his age and the wages he would earn, it is probable that there will be few clubs queueing to sign him if he does not do well.
For the Gunners in particular, the signing of Villa is sure to increase their chances of winning a trophy, which will add further revenue to the side. Also, the Spaniard is a hugely popular footballer around the world and will generate more revenue through shirt sales and can be the marketing poster boy for the Gunners for the next season.
With every signing, there is always an element of risk involved, but considering the signing of Villa, it could be a move worth making as he will generate huge revenue for the club if he can find his form for the Gunners.
Currently, Olivier Giroud seems to be the only effective option upfront for the Gunners and Wenger will need to bring in reinforcements in that position. He will look to offload both Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner, both of whom have been paid by Arsenal while not contributing anything to the club.
David Villa is certainly an upgrade on the current options, including Giroud, but he is a signing for the short term only and it is a gamble to rely on him completely for the whole season considering his fitness record.
He would certainly provide a superb option for the Gunners but ideally, another forward will be welcomed as well, especially someone like Stevan Jovetic. Jovetic has a different style of play to both Villa and Giroud and is also still young enough to develop into a world class player in the future. However, the question remains whether Wenger will spend on two quality strikers this summer despite the Gunners possessing enough money to do so.
If Villa does indeed arrive at the club, then it is likely that Wenger will focus on other areas at first and should he be able to offload most of the fringe players.
There is a possibility of another top striker arriving at the club. If the Spaniard is the only striker to arrive at the club, it would be a little underwhelming to the fans who have been dreaming of Arsenal splashing the cash on world class strikers.
Nevertheless, El Guaje would represent a superb signing for the Gunners, considering his quality, and it could turn out to be a master-stroke should he be able to find his form. The Spaniard's qualities would surely enhance the quality of the Gunners, who will be able to compete for trophies should Villa recapture the form which made him one of the world's best players.
Also, you can read more of my articles on my blog: The Invincible Gunners