Sport Soccer

Friday 20 April 2018

Barcelona pay Valencia €40m for Villa

Rory Smith

BARCELONA completed the signing of the Spanish international David Villa yesterday after agreeing a €40m fee with Valencia.

The 28-year-old striker has signed a four-year deal with an option for a fifth season. He is expected to arrive in Barcelona this evening and will be put through a medical tomorrow morning before the Spanish champions' first signing of the summer is officially presented to the public.

"David has a Barcelona profile," said their sporting director, Txiki Begiristain. "Like Lionel Messi, he combines the role of centre-forward with cutting in from the right wing. He gives teams depth and uses space well."

Villa (right) has scored 107 goals in 166 games in his five years at the Mestalla but the club's president, Manuel Llorente, yesterday confirmed Valencia, who are in debt to such an extent (€500m) that they cannot afford to continue work on their new stadium, had no choice but to sell.

"It is a good price and a necessary sale given the economic situation which the club finds itself in," he said yesterday.

"There was a big offer from England -- not from Chelsea -- but Barcelona's was the best for us and the footballer," added Llorente.

The 28-year-old is Spain's second-highest scorer with 36 goals from 55 matches, eight short of the record held by Real Madrid striker Raul, and he will be spearheading Spain's World Cup campaign in South Africa next month.

"This is without doubt the most difficult and emotive moment of my entire career," said Villa.

The completion of the first high-profile transfer of the summer is likely to impact on a number of Premier League teams.

Manchester United are believed to have tracked Villa, although his age, price and his desire to remain in Spain made it a distant prospect.

But Manchester City are likely to find their chances of signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic increased. The Swede moved to Barcelona only last summer for £55m.

Villa's deal would also seem to reduce the prospect of Barcelona moving for Fernando Torres, though Arsenal may interpret the speed at which the deal was completed as a sign of Barcelona's intent to secure both Villa and their other principal target, Cesc Fabregas, before the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Sevilla claimed their second Copa del Rey triumph in four years when Diego Capel's early strike set them up for a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last night. In a bad-tempered match, winger Capel pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area in the fifth minute and smashed a left-foot shot past David De Gea. Winger Jesus Navas scored the second goal in stoppage time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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