David Villa has conceded that Barcelona did indeed block a January 2013 transfer to Arsenal, before ‘easing’ a summer exit to Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish international was heavily linked with a transfer to the Gunners during the last winter transfer window, with Arsene Wenger even commenting publicly that an approach had been turned down.
“I wasn’t playing so had asked the club if I could leave,” Villa has admitted this week on the situation, to Canal +.
“There was an important offer from an English side, you all know that that was Arsenal. The offer was very good for the club and great for me.
“They saw it as not feasible for me to leave at that moment. I was told that I was needed.
“Barca has always shown me great affection. They promised that they would ease my exit in the summer, which they fulfilled. I only have words of gratitude for Barca.”
That eventual summer exit was to Atletico Madrid, where Villa has continued to score goals.
“I am happy because the goals and performances on the field have contributed to the team achieving its objectives, because after all, as you know, I think more towards the collective than the individual.
“When I arrived here, this team was already here, and for some years they had been playing very well and had been very aggressive, achieving important things. Slowly, I find myself becoming increasingly better.
“Diego Simeone’s impact? He has the virtue of Luis Aragones and the motivational talks similar to Pep Guardiola.”