Journalist Guilem Balague has told Sky Sports how Arsenal missed out on the capture of Spanish striker David Villa by as little as €2.3million.
The Spanish striker joined Atletico Madrid from Barcelona for the relatively modest sum of £4.4million. Tottenham Hotspur had been favourites to secure the signature of the World Cup winner before he chose to remain in La Liga, however Arsenal had tried to sign the 31-year-old in January but failed to follow up when the players availability became clear.
Balague said In January Arsenal came and offered a four-year deal, about 20million euros, and some money for Barcelona. Barcelona said they were not selling.
Balague was speaking in an interview with popular Spanish football programme Revista de la Liga. He continued on the point, saying: “So I think that David Villa, who took his kids to a British school, expected Arsenal to come back but they didn’t, because they saw that David Villa in the last six months was not happy and wasn’t playing well, and they probably thought he is not what he was. Atletico Madrid came in and they got a deal for 2.5m euros – that is all for the first year. If he stays for three years it is 4.6m euros. Why so cheap? I found out that Barcelona have a first option on [18-year-old Atletico midfielder] Oliver Torres.”
Torres is a midfielder at Atletico, joining the club in 2008, linking up with the cubs youth setup at the age of 13. He spent four years in the youth sides before Diego Simeone called the 5ft10in player up to the first team. Towards the end of the 2012 season, Torres was called up to the first team squad despite never having played for the reserves, for a La liga game against Real Betis.
He had to wait though until August and the beginning of last season to make his debut in a game against Levante as a second half substitute. He has played 8 times in total for the first team and has also played at Spanish under-21 level.
Balague explains the workings of the deal: “Now if Atletico fans find out about that they might not be happy but it is one way of Barcelona saying they are getting rid of a big wage and getting a first option on this guy, and let go someone who was not happy either.”
If the player had of joined Arsenal it could have meant a lot less pressure on Wenger. However it seems the biggest winner for now are Atletico.