The Spanish international (behind Iker Casillas in the pecking order) expressed his desire to experience football abroad.
“I want to try new cultures, new football, new challenges," said Valdes.
“I’ve had great times here, I love it at Barcelona. I will always come back here, but I have this wonderful job which allows me to travel. And I want to travel," he added.
Whilst the majority of news outlets have taken that, quite understandably, as statement of his intent to depart from the Camp Nou. I’m not convinced just yet that he’s not just bluffing amidst the backdrop that he hasn’t yet renewed his contract which expires next year.
He enters the final year of his current deal with the La Liga leaders in June and, subsequently, a number of ‘two-plus-two’ rumours have emerged linking him with, most notably, Arsenal. Here are the reasons why I don’t believe it will happen and I personally don’t think it would be a preferable signing for the Gunners…
Valdes is now 31, which, by goalkeeper standards, is comparable to a cat on his second of nine lives. He’s easily got another five years of top-level professional football in him if not almost double that.
However, his a age is double-edged sword – yes, he is an experienced top drawer goalkeeper with countless medals but he’s not the kind of player you would buy looking into the future which, incidentally, is how Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger tends to operate in the transfer market.
Which brings me nicely to the 22-year-old Polish number one that Arsenal already have as their first-choice between the sticks.
Yes, he’s not had his best season but there is no doubt (in my mind, at least) that he is already a top quality stopper and can potentially become a world-class keeper if he can keep his focus at Arsenal where he’s been for 7 years, since he was 15.
Wenger has showed immense faith in the young man and taken the risk of blooding an inexperienced player in the first team at the highest level and, for the most part, the Pole has done a very good job at repaying that faith.
His father’s recent verbal-diarrhoea outbreak will likely not affect his position at the club and I feel that he’ll reclaim his place imminently – I tend to think those asserting that he’s not good enough are jumping the gun and then on to the band-wagon all at once.
If Wenger brought in Valdes it would completely shatter the youngster’s confidence and have an adverse affect on his development and form. I can’t see a manager like Wenger doing that to one of his favoured protégés.
Meanwhile, Valdes is valued at around £10.5 million, which, even for a player in the last year of his contract, would be short of the mark Barca will be hoping to gain. I’d say around £12 million would settle it but that’s a lot of money for a frugal manager like Wenger to spend on a position he already has covered.
Why would he waste his cash on a 31-year-old goalie when it’s clear Arsenal need reinforcements more urgently in other areas – like another striker, central defender, probably a right-back, and a defensive midfielder.
He’s got plenty to be getting on with this summer before he brings in over-priced cover for positions with players doing relatively well already, bar a recent dip and blip which happens to the best of them anyway at some point.
I say overpriced because, frankly, I’m not even altogether convinced Valdes is a world-class goalkeeper. Yes, he plays for the best team in the world but, then again, on the other hand, he plays for the best team in the world – as a goalkeeper who invariably has nothing to do.
Barcelona are so far superior to the vast majority of their competition across all competitions, I don’t believe Valdes has been properly tested.
I would suggest if Wenger is considering a move he send him for a trial over at QPR to see how he gets on - just in case it turns out he’s not so infallible when he’s not got the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba, and Dani Alves keeping possession and protecting him game in, game out.
Even if Valdes is a very good goalkeeper, which I believe he is, he will take time to adapt to the physicality of the English game.
Time is not something Arsenal have in abundance right now – the fans want new signings of top quality who can hit the ground running a make up the difference in everything they’ve lacked so desperately this season.
I don’t believe Victor Valdes is therefore a necessity and, furthermore, even a requirement at all.
image: © Gerard Reyes