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How Spain's all-time leading scorer became Arsenal's top target

A look into what has gone right and what has gone wrong for David Villa at Barcelona and how he is on the verge of a summer move to Arsenal.

It has been one of the January transfer window's most hot and cold stories; will he, wont he sign for Arsenal and in the end, Gunners fans were left disappointed that David Villa had not arrived.

However, following reports just days later that claim the former Valencia striker has told Barcelona official's he will leave to join Arsenal in the summer, it has many wondering how this move came about.

Cast your mind back to Wembley, 2011, Barcelona led Manchester United quite comfortably in the Champions League final and then up steps Villa to score a sublime effort and further strengthen Barca's reign as the 'World's Best team'.

Villa was on top of the world, along with Pedro Rodriguez and the ever great Lionel Messi, Barca's front-three had developed a combination like no other, scoring 98 goals in all competitions.

However, whilst Lionel Messi would continue on and go from strength to strength, Villa and Pedro suffered as both dipped in form, scoring only 22 goals between the two.

Villa of course could be excused following his injury during the World Club Cup which saw him ruled out for several months with a broken leg but even before the injury, Spain's all-time leading scorer had started to feel the wrath of the club's fans as he simply found it hard to score.

Since his return to full fitness, playing time has been limited, but for a reason.

Alexis Sanchez, signed following that 2011 Champions League win has been proving his worth, whilst not scoring, he has offered Lionel Messi more than Villa did and does.

Pedro, who like Villa suffered with poor form has started scoring of late, including a hat-trick for the Spanish national side and has started netting for Barca.

Now, Villa sits on the Barca bench, a silent figure, similar to a youngster trying to catch the eye of his coach in a bid to be subbed on.

He has been subbed on, but his performances and attitude seems to have dwindled. Take the game against Valencia on Sunday night, his former club, Villa had the game's best chance but he sent his close range effort wide.

An act that is very distant from the type of finishing and quality he once had and one that will see the club sell in the summer.

Whilst the Catalan club were adament they would not let him leave for Arsenal during January, reports of Neymar's arrival later this summer all but end Villa's time at Camp Nou.

Arsenal fans reading the above and thinking Villa may not be that good a signing, must think again. Whilst his time at Barcelona started well and is ending poor, Spain's number one striker still has plenty to offer.

Let's not forget that Barcelona have Lionel Messi, a player who already has 45 goals this season. For any proven and world class striker, naming Zlatan Ibrahimovic for example and a proven one, it is merely impossible to look good alongside the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Arsenal are all but complete, Nacho Monreal's signing from Malaga adds strength and versatility, Santi Cazorla has given the Gunners what Cesc Fabregas left behind but with Villa they would have that missing piece of the puzzle to finally end that long and overdue trophy drought.

image: © adifansnet

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