There are reports in the Spanish media today that Arsenal have raised the stakes in their attempt to sign the Spanish international striker, David Villa, from Barcelona before the deadline on Thursday night. The idea seems to be to get the 31-year old to up the pressure on his bosses at the Nou Camp, but Barcelona have countered by starting Villa and giving him the full 90 minutes against Osasuna yesterday.
The Spanish newspaper, AS, reports that Arsenal have told Villa and his club that the offer of around £10 million to buy the striker is a take it or leave it deal that will not be repeated in the summer. As Elvis Presley once sang, it’s now or never. They also report that Villa has requested the move and does not want to wait because he needs to play regularly to get in to the Spanish side for the Confederations cup in the summer.
Barcelona started Villa yesterday, on the left of Messi with Pedro on the right. He looked sharp and was involved with most of the good attacking play, setting up one of Messi’s four goals on a plate. He had the ball in the net himself, but the linesman wrongly flagged Messi offside in the build up. Barcelona will hope that they have proved that he will play more in the rest of the season, but one game may not be enough, especially against a team they were expected to beat easily.
A better indication for Villa will be if he is in the starting line up to play Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Wednesday. If not, he could be heading to the Emirates. That is leaving things very late for Arsenal though, and it could be a frantic Thursday.