Arsenal are planning to wait until the summer to make a bid for David Villa, according to reports, as Barcelona continue to assert that the Spaniard is staying at the Catalan club for the short term at least.
The Gunners are in search of more reinforcements in the January window, if sources are to be believed, as the side look to challenge for a top four spot.
After losing Marouana Chamakh, who is now on a six month loan at West Ham, and Gervinho to the Africa Cup of Nations, Arsene Wenger has been left with little depth in his front line while Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud continue to struggle for goals.
Metro are reporting that Arsenal have put Villa at the top of their list, with the striker struggling for game time in Barcelona's midfield-heavy setup, and though the La Liga giants are reluctant to sell, the north London club believe that if they wait until the summer they might be able to tempt him into a move.
The paper claims that although Barcelona have continually stressed that Villa will stay at the club, a bid of £12 million would be considered. But Arsenal are hoping that in the summer his valuation may go down.
Today Barca manager Tito Vilanova claimed that Villa would definitely not be leaving the club in January, telling reporters: "David will not leave, we are very happy with him.
"It's been a long recovery process, but we know his importance to the team, and we're sure that he will help us."
Barcelona chief Sandro Rosell also claimed that he wouldn't be going anywhere, saying: "I completely rule out of the transfer of Villa during the winter market. He is ours and we need him. There is a lot of the season left."
But the club haven't addressed the possibility that Villa might leave in the summer, leaving the door open for Arsenal to make plans in the long term to bring the 31 year old on board.