Arsenal have reportedly given up their pursuit of Barcelona forward David Villa and are now keen on landing Atletico Madrid star Adrian instead.
The Gunners had made a formal approach for Villa, by sending a delegation from the Emirates to Camp Nou last week to hold negotiations with the player and the Catalans, according to Goal.com. However, Barcelona have informed the north London club that the Spaniard is not available either on loan or on a permanent transfer in January.
Villa, who missed much of last season after breaking his leg, has fallen down the pecking at Camp Nou and has managed just 11 starts out of the Catalan's 31 matches this season. But with the Champions League and La Liga titles within their grasp, Tito Vilanova wants to keep the 31-year-old La Roja international in his ranks.
"David is not going to leave. We are very happy with him. We know how important he is to the team. He is still coming back from a long injury, and each time he gets more minutes. But he had some more problems. Last year we missed him a lot in the second half of the season," Vilanova pointed out.
The report claims Arsene Wenger has now turned his attention to Villa's compatriot Adrian and is now weighing up a £12m offer to snap up the Atletico forward. The 25-year-old's current deal at the Vicente Calderon runs till 2015 but has a £14.7m release clause in his contract.
Like Villa, Adrian has also fallen behind in the pecking order at his club this season, managing just seven La Liga starts so far, with Atletico manager Diego Simeone understandably preferring South American hitman Radamel Falcao, ahead of the Spanish international, to lead his attack.
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Adrian for some time now and the report adds the Gunners have been in talks with Atletico regarding the player's situation, from even before Christmas.
Adrian is a versatile forward, who can play anywhere across the Arsenal frontline, complementing the clubs' current forwards, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
Meanwhile, there are also reports that Wenger could make a move for Villa in the summer, when the forward will have just a year left on his Barcelona contract.