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Manchester City are considering a bid for Barcelona striker David Villa, according to the Mirror. The 31-year-old Spanish international is his country's leading goalscorer, with 53 strikes in 85 appearances, but has struggled to impose himself in a Lionel Messi-led attacking line-up since his transfer to the Nou Camp in 2010.
Villa, it is believed, will replace Argentine international Sergio Aguero at the Etihad, after reports that the 24-year-old former Atletico Madrid forward has become disillusioned with life at the club. The £38m 2011 summer signing led City to a remarkable first league title in over four decades earlier this year, with 23 goals and eight assists in 34 Premier League appearances. This season, however, Aguero has been considerably less impressive, with only five goals in 13 league appearances.
City's second consecutive elimination from the Champions League, in the group stages, does not help matters. And neither do reports of interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
If the Mirror's report is true, and Aguero is low on confidence, that would explain why the normally prolific Argentine has been poor in front of goal in recent games. Saturday's goal in the 3-1 win at St James' Park was his first since late November, when he scored to level matters in a Champions League group stage game against, coincidentally, Madrid.
City manager Roberto Mancini has confessed himself unimpressed with all his strikers' form this season, increasing speculation that the club may move for a new forward, either in January or in the summer. The Etihad club has been linked with another Atletico Madrid striker - Colombian international Radamel Falcao and, more recently, Paris St Germain (PSG) striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Villa to Manchester
The defending Premier League champions were linked with the former Valencia forward in the summer as well, with talkSport suggesting a fee between £40m and £50m for the World Cup-winning forward. An approach this time around would be aided by the fact that the English club's newly appointed director of football is Txiki Begiristain and their chief executive Ferran Soriano... both of whom worked with Villa during their time in Barcelona.
Watzke Denies Lewandowski City Move
Meanwhile, Bundesliga defending champions Borussia Dortmund have been forced once more to deny that Polish striker Robert Lewandowksi will leave in the summer. The 24-year-old forward has been in excellent form for Jurgen Klopp's side, with 31 goals in 49 league appearances. Earlier this season, the club's sporting director Hans-Joachim Watzke was quoted as admitting uncertainty over the Pole's future.
However, despite strong rumours, Watzke has confirmed there has been no contact from either Manchester United or Premier League champions City. The Daily Mail, who have quoted Watzke, indicated a possible £12m bid from the Red Devils and a swap deal, involving Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko, from City.