This is happening
This entry was going to be all about David Villa (and mostly it will be) until I read this. It would seem that Xavi had the heads up, given what he was saying this morning at the Spanish training camp. No details yet on how much Barça have offered the Gunners but that will leak out over the course of the day. I don't know if I buy Joan Oliver's line about negations not beginning before June 1st thanks to the transfer window in England, quite a few players have changed clubs in the Premier League since the end of the season. It's just more bluster. Anyway, I've made my thoughts on Cesc known, so onwards to Barça's new number 7.
Los Che watch it all fall down
You feel it can go one of two ways for Valencia. Either the departure of David Villa from the Mestella will keep them afloat with the money it's bringing in or it'll be catalyst for four or five players to jump ship, leaving the team, broke and shorn of their best attacking talent (and Nikola Zigic), in serious trouble come the start of next season. With David Silva all set to follow Villa out the door and rumours of Juan Mata also wanting to leave, the latter is certainly a possibility.
Making the Champions League does at least guarantee them revenue/ tv money for six games and unless they get drawn in a particularly tough group, even with the players they've lost, they ought make the last 16. Added to that, those most likely to attract bids (the aforementioned Mata and Ever Banega, who's had a sensational season) are young and tied into long contracts. Silva will definitely leave, he's on high wages and with City interested, will command a fee of at least £30 million. I like Silva a lot but he's more replaceable than any of the others, Pablo Hernandez, Chori Dominguez and Joaquin are all options out on the wing or behind the main striker, whoever that turns out to be (I wouldn't at all be surprised to see Dani Guiza make a return to Spain from Fener. Things haven't really worked out for him at all there and he's one of the few proven gol scorers in La Liga that Valencia could afford, the likes of Llorente and Soldado would be much too expensive).
It's the other side of this deal that I'm really concerned with though, what Villa's move will mean at the Camp Nou. Villa is a phenomenal striker, a player who led from the front at the Mestella. I read some Opta stats that Valencia had won 63% of their games when Villa played and a mere 17% when he didn't. And while I don't expect him to have anything like that impact at FCB (they're a much better team who don't rely on one player to win games by himself), he's the sort of player that should both push them over the 100 gol mark and get them back to the European Cup Final.
He's also a much better fit in the fluid attacking three that Barcelona play with. Zlatan, for all his talent, is the wrong player for the blaugrana where as Villa's movement and style of play is far more suited to Barça's quick movement and passing game. If Zlatan doesn't leave in the summer I can foresee him spending a lot of time on the bench, getting more and more frustrated and all the time diminishing in value. Maybe the best thing would be to take the hit on him now and flog him to City (soon to be home to just about anyone who can kick a ball it seems) or Chelsea.