With the transfers of Demba Ba, Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Llorente along with the contract agreement of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the pre-window list of viable striking options has dramatically diminished before the end of first week in January.
For clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, there are only a couple of feasible options left and of those two, neither fully fits the bill.
Barcelona’s David Villa will not be available on loan – the Catalans are reportedly after £16 million for the full transfer of their 31-year-old striker who remains Spain’s all-time top goalscorer.
Crystal Palace have resigned themselves to the idea that they will be losing England starlet Wilfried Zaha imminently – but they intend to hold out for a bid exceeding £12 million and rightly so. Whilst the 20-year-old is undoubtedly one of the finest future prospects in the land, he’s yet to be tested at highest level and he’s still got developing to do to reach the heights of the above.
I suppose it comes down to the requirements of the clubs in question – if they require a first-choice striker of world-class proportions, then Villa would be the man for the job but at 31 with an injury record he’d be a short-term solution.
Conversely, Zaha has his whole career ahead of him but he is still a relatively unknown quantity – we do know he is the best player in the Championship by miles but can he make an instant impact in the top tier? Possibly. At £12 million and potentially 5 years to give it his best shot, he’s probably the more sensible option economically.
However, Villa is the finished article – with all due respect his career’s nearly finished as well – he’s got a maximum two or three years at the top level and I’ll be surprised if he can manage that. Nonetheless, he’s a goalscorer – goals happen to win games and winning games happens to lead to winning trophies. It’s not exactly rocket science.
The problem is that a big name and big earner like Villa will not be bought to sit on the bench – if he was content with that, he’d stay at the Nou Camp. Zaha would probably be quite happy to play eager substitute for the rest of the season while he adapts and settles in to a new club.
All in all it makes no sense for clubs who have designated star strikers to bring in David Villa – it would probably be best for all concerned if he goes to a club with more money than sense where he could be the biggest fish in the paddling pool. For everyone else, there’s Wilfried Zaha who’s fast becoming the only top striker target left to aim at.