Arsenal's hopes of signing Barcelona striker David Villa have been boosted after the Spanish international confirmed his interest in a move to the Emirates. The Sun reports the 31-year-old ex-Valencia forward is keen on a summer move to the Premier League, with a £14m fee suggested.
Arsene Wenger was strongly linked to Villa throughout the mid-season transfer window, with reports of a deadline day move. However, the former Spanish and European champions Barcelona maintained they were reluctant to offload the striker in the middle of the season.
Now that the mid-season window has closed, the focus seems to have shifted to the prospect of a summer move. Villa is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Spanish national team and despite limited playing time with the Nou Camp side, has 10 goals from 12 starts this season. Villa would not only provide Wenger with an additional option up front but the classy striker brings bags of experience at the very highest levels, for both club and country.
Villa's contract expires next summer and unless his first team involvement increases dramatically between now and the end of the present season, he is likely to press for a transfer to the Emirates. Since he will be 32 in December, the Catalans may be willing to cash in on him.
The Spaniard's wages are believed to be approximately £110,000 per week and Wenger will reportedly match that figure. In addition, the Gunners, according to The Sun, will break club policy and offer Villa at least a three-year contract; club policy is that players over 30 are given only 12-month deals.
Wenger Happy with Monreal's Debut
Finally, Wenger has declared himself satisfied with Nacho Monreal's debut for the Gunners. The Spanish international left-back was signed from La Liga club Malaga on deadline day, as a replacement for England international Kieran Gibbs, who will miss nearly two months with a thigh injury.
Arsenal played host to Stoke City on Saturday and although the Potters put on an impressive defensive display, German international Lukas Podolski's free kick gave Wenger's men a deserved 1-0 win.
"There's no better culture shock than Stoke when you come from Spain, because of course they have a very physical game, and I think [Monreal] dealt well with it. The satisfaction is that Monreal had a good start for a player who just arrived yesterday and is in the team today. He had no time to think about it, but overall I felt he got stronger and stronger during the game," Wenger explained.