David Villa will play next season for Atlético Madrid. Barça and Atlético agreed on the deal yesterday and Atlético will pay an initial fee of €2.1 million for Villa with another €2 million to be paid if the player begins the 2014/15 season at Atlético, and another €1 million if he is still there for the 2015/16 season. Barça will also receive 50% of the fee if Atlético sell Villa to another club.
The low price for such a talented player seems laughable but Barça have acceeded to Villa’s desire to remain in Spain and thus accepted Atlético’s bid instead of the slightly higher offers of Tottenham and Fiorentina. Villa’s contract at Barça stipulated a pay rise for what would have been his final year from €7 million to €11 million, and after the signing of Neymar the club is obviously keen to save on Villa’s wages.
Barça paid Valencia €40 million for Villa in the summer of 2010. The player had an excellent first season which culminated with him scoring the third goal in the Champions League final at Wembley. It seemed Barça had finally found the right man for the left side of attack but Villa would suffer a massive setback when he broke a leg during the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final in Japan in December 2011. When he returned to action in the 2012/13 season he continued to score goals with ease but Tito Vilanova showed more confidence in other forwards. Eventually Villa’s form dropped and it was clear that he was not happy with his situation. Despite his injury in his second season and the lack of opportunities in his third, Villa still played a total of 119 games for the club in which he amassed a total of 48 goals.
Unfortunately the club is never in a good position to sell when trying to offload players. Villa is our second sale of the summer after Andreu Fontás joined Luis Enrique’s Celta for €1 million. The money taken in will not go far in our search for a quality centre back though we can expect another €18 million if Thiago completes his supposed move to Manchester United.
Besides that, Bojan Krkic has been loaned out again, this time to Ajax which would seem a better destination for the player. It seems unlikely that Bojan will one day return to find a regular place in Barça’s first team but he is still only 22 so in theory he should still be developing. Next on the list for loan moves are Afellay and Cuenca. With training for the new season starting next week Tito Vilanova will want to see these matters resolved quickly.
Finally, it was also announced yesterday that Eric Abidal has agreed a one-year deal to rejoin Monaco which is where he began his career. The fact that Eric must have passed a medical at Monaco only adds to the suspicion that we have let him go too soon.
Good luck Abi! Good luck Guaje! Top blokes the pair of you!