FC Barcelona have announced that they have reached an agreement with Atletico Madrid for the sale of David Villa, while Eric Abidal returns to Monaco.
David Villa’s future at the Catalan club had been up for speculation this season. Villa, who is the all-time leading goal scorer for Spain, has endured a frustrating season on personal front. The forward managed made only 14 appearances for Barcelona in the La Liga last season, mostly due to injuries, although at times Pedro or Alexis Sanchez have been preferred over him.
Arsenal were linked heavily with a move for the Spanish international during the January transfer window, but Barcelona weren’t prepared to let go of him in the middle of the campaign. The Gunners’ interest in Villa cooled down in recent times and their rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, emerged as the front runners to sign the striker.
Reports suggested that David Villa was frustrated with his life at Barcelona as he is no longer a permanent fixture in the starting line-up. Also the fact the he has had to mostly play second fiddle to Lionel Messi did’t improve the situation. The Spaniard was looking for a fresh start to his career in new surroundings, with new challenges.
Barcelona were also interested in selling Villa this summer as they look to revamp the squad. But initially it seemed that their high demands and Villa’s current wages were a big stumbling block for potential suitors. Villa’s was on a wage of €165,000-a-week, which meant he had to take a pay-cut to force a move elsewhere.
Now the Catalan giants have announced that they have reached a deal with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of David Villa. The transfer fee involved in this deal is £5.1m, with £2.1m being paid up front.
“FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of David Villa.
“The deal is set to bring Barça a maximum of 5.1 million Euros, with 2.1 due this season, 2 more if Villa stays at Atletico next year and another million should he be at the Madrid club the season after. Barça also reserve the right to 50% of any sell on fee in the future.” – Read a statement on the club’s official website.
While the transfer fee involved is surprisingly low for a striker of David Villa’s pedigree, it is believed that the club lowered their demands in order to honour Villa’s wish of staying back with a club in Spain and playing in the Champions League. It is a shrewd piece of business for Atletico Madrid as well, to get someone like Villa at such a low price to replace Falcao, who left for Monaco.
Eric Abidal Joins Monaco
Meanwhile, former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, who was released by the Spanish at the end of last season, has signed for his old club Monaco on a three-year contract.
Barcelona decided not to extend their contract with Abidal in an emotional decision which ended the defender’s six year stint at the club earlier in the summer. The Catalan club instead offered him a role as the club’s ambassador, but Abidal insisted on continuing his footballing career for a few more years. The Frenchman underwent a critical Liver transplant surgery after he was diagnosed with Liver tumour, but he showed amazing spirit and determination to fight his way back and continue his career.
It will be an emotional return to Monaco, where it all started for him 13 years ago. The French club was linked with a move for him earlier in the summer, but after the first round of discussions with his agent it seemed the deal was off. Abidal’s agent blamed the club of ‘disrespecting’ Abidal and slammed them for the way they ‘treated’ him.
But now it looks like the disagreement has been settled and the Frenchman will ply his trade in Ligue 1 from next season onwards. Abidal expressed his delight at the conclusion of his deal and pointed out that it wasn’t easy for him to find a club with confidence in his abilities.
“It’s very emotional, it’s huge. After what I’ve been through, it wasn’t easy to find a club with confidence in me.” said the former Barcelona defender.
While Barcelona might have lost two key players this summer, but in truth it has cleared up a big amount of their wage bill – which basically means that they have made room for another big name signing this summer. It has cleared up space in the squad for the possible arrival of Thiago Silva or Wayne Rooney – or perhaps both.