Arsenal are set to face stiff competition from Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the race for David Villa's signature. The Gunners were strongly linked to the 31-year-old Spanish international in January, with Arsene Wenger reportedly mounting a deadline day move.

David Villa

The Metro reports Wenger will have to contend with Atletico's advances in the summer; the Vicente Calderon team expect to lose highly-rated Colombian international Radamel Falcao at the end of the season, with Premier League champions Manchester City, European champions Chelsea and cross-town rivals Real Madrid believed to be queuing up to sign the South American.

Falcao has scored 18 goals from 19 La Liga starts this season and will command a sizeable fee, which Atletico will use to bring Villa to the capital.

Villa, a World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain and a Champions League winner with Barcelona, is believed to favour a move to the Emirates and the Premier League. However, that may have all changed. Villa has confirmed that he has now become a father for the third time - his wife Patricia has given birth to a boy. And the news is likely to persuade the striker to remain in Spain. Either way, the ex-Valencia forward has struggled to impose himself in Barcelona's first team this season and is eager for regular game time.

Wenger will no doubt hope the Spanish contingent at the Emirates - Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal, as well as youngster Ignasi Miquel - will be able to convince Villa to swap Catalonia and Madrid for north London.

Theo Walcott on Striker Role

Meanwhile, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has revealed he wants to play as a central striker for the England national side, having impressed in that position with the Gunners.

"I will play anywhere for England and Arsenal, but I do believe I'm a striker and I'm sure in the next few years I'll be playing a bit more regularly," Walcott said, "You need to get into the manager's face at training and prove how good you are. Everything is sorted for me at Arsenal now with the contract and the next test for me is to get my England career back where it should be."