Given his waning influence at Barcelona - above all in the league, a competition in which he has played 23 minutes in the last four games - it would be reasonable to assume that David Villa's days at the Camp Nou are numbered. However, the signals being given by the Catalan club are somewhat different. Asked about the possibility of the Asturian departing in the January transfer window, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta's message was unequivocal: Villa is not for sale.
After Saturday's victory at Real Valladolid, the former Spain goalkeeper assured the TV channel 'Canal+': "there is no plan for him to leave this winter. He'll be like a new signing for us during the transfer window. David scores goals and brings us intensity. He's coming back from a very serious injury, and he's looking good." Asked about the striker's peripheral role so far this season, he responded: "Top-class players always want to play; it's part of their make-up. We expect to see him back with us on 2nd January. We don't usually listen to offers for our players; since I've been here, it hasn't happened often."
Nevertheless, rumours emanating from England suggest that Liverpool and, above all, Arsenal are interested in taking 'El Guaje' to the Premier League. The North London club have been looking for a replacement for Robin van Persie since the Dutchman's departure for Manchester United, and Villa would offer a perfect fit. Barça are adamant that he is not for sale; however, a transfer request from the player himself would change everything, and it is little secret that he feels marginalised: he has made 20 appearances and has not been included for any of the club's crunch games (he was left out of all three encounters with Real Madrid).
According to the British press, Arsenal are thought to be preparing an offer to rescue Villa from this situation, signing him on loan for the rest of the season. Depending on the player's impact at the Emirates, a decision would then be taken in the summer on a possible permanent transfer.