Former Barcelona and Spain striker David Villa has revealed he came close to signing for Arsenal in January 2013.
Villa, who retired from football last December at the age of 38, ended up leaving Barcelona for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2013 having seen a possible move to Arsenal fall through months earlier.
How close was David Villa to joining Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Towards the end of his spell with Barcelona, Villa was linked with Arsenal.
- But then-manager Arsene Wenger claimed Barcelona did not want to sell the forward.
- Villa finished the 2012/13 campaign with Barcelona before moving to Atletico Madrid.
- The 38-year-old has now revealed he was “90%” sure a move to Arsenal would happen.
- He spent just one season with Atletico before spells in Australia, the USA and Japan.
The veteran forward scored 48 goals across three seasons with Barcelona, winning two La Liga titles and the Champions League among other titles.
But when his time at the club was coming to an end midway through the 2012/13 season, Villa almost swapped Spain for England by leaving Camp Nou for the Emirates.
However, despite admitting a deal nearly came to fruition, Villa has explained how Atletico moved quickly to secure his services after Arsenal missed out.
“We were in a lot of meetings and a lot of calls,” Villa told BBC Sport.
“I felt 90% in that moment that I [would] go to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
“But in that moment we didn’t arrive to the deal, Atletico Madrid arrived and in three or four days fixed everything.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I’d signed for Arsenal. I’m very happy that I signed for Atletico Madrid, not just for winning the league but for everything. I’m very happy to have made that choice.”
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Villa: Premier League move nearly happened “many times”
Villa went on to claim he had a number of opportunities to join Premier League clubs but ultimately a move didn’t materialise.
He said: “I love the Premier League. In my career I always watched a lot of games in the Premier League.
“I always thought about going there one time, but in the moment that all these offers arrived to me or to my agent, I made another decision. Why? I don’t know.
“Many times I had the opportunity to go there, but I chose another way.”