Former Barcelona striker David Villa has revealed why he snubbed a move to the Premier League in order to sign for Atlético Madrid. The 31-year-old was pursued by Tottenham but chose to remain in Spain.
"We had a move to the Premier [League] in mind but then Atleti appeared and within three days all my personal terms had been agreed. From a career point of view, they weren't lacking anything. They finished third in La Liga and will play in the Champions League. They beat Real Madrid to win the Copa del Rey. Starting from now, the best club in the world for me is Atletico Madrid," Villa said.
Tottenham were favourites to land the striker with Andre Villas-Boas openly admitting his admiration for the Spaniard. Spurs' north London rivals Arsenal were also linked to the player but that was back in January, when the Gunners had a deadline day bid rejected. Since then, Arsene Wenger has moved on to Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain and Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
Villa moves to the Vicente Calderon to replace Colombian international Radamel Falcao, who too snubbed heavy interest from the Premier League and moved to Ligue 1 newcomers Monaco in a massive £50m deal.
The Spain international, who is his country's leading goal scorer, also spoke on his tactical role in Diego Simeone's side, admitting he would prefer the No 9 role but insisting he was happy to play anywhere. Privately though, Villa will want that central role, having seen his career derail at the Nou Camp after being shuffled out to the left to accommodate Lionel Messi.
"I have to talk to the coach Diego Simeone about playing in a number nine role, where Falcao played. But I am simply at his disposal and will play wherever he wants. Falcao was loved here but hopefully I can make sure his absence isn't felt. I left Barca because I wasn't playing, not because the World Cup was on the horizon," he added.
Meanwhile, having missed out on Villa, Tottenham have shifted to Belgian international Christian Benteke. The 22-year-old had a superb debut season in English top flight last year, smashing 23 goals to save Aston Villa from relegation.
Now though he wants to move on and has formally requested a transfer. Villa boss Paul Lambert is understandably keen to hold on to his prized possession and, according to the Mirror, wants nothing less than £25m. Spurs, however, will bid only £20m. Discussions over personal terms are likely to be swifter, with the north London side willing to triple the player's £20,000 per week salary.