Villa unlikely to join Arsenal as Barcelona increase demands

Arsenal have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of Barcelona striker David Villa, after the Catalan giants doubled his asking price to around £17m, according to The Daily Star.

Villa’s recent form has propelled him straight back into coach Tito Vilanova’s first team plans, and the club are now considerably more reluctant to let the 31-year-old leave than they were in the summer.

Arsenal looked set to sign the player in the January transfer window, but he ultimately turned down the move as his wife was pregnant with their third child.

Rumours of a rift between the striker and Lionel Messi circulated recently, and it was thought that this could spark a revival of interest from the Gunners when the transfer window reopens in the summer. However, with the Spaniards now resolute in their desire to keep Spain’s record goalscorer a deal seems unlikely, especially given the new asking price compared to the player’s age.

Barcelona are even thought to be preparing to offer Villa a new two year contract, and sources close to the player said: “We have still not received a formal offer but David is happy in Barcelona.”

Villa joined Barcelona in 2010 for a fee of €40m, and he has averaged almost a goal in every two games, with 69 appearances yielding 31 goals. He has also scored 53 goals in 87 caps for Spain, and his goals-to-games ratio for the national side is the best since Alfredo di Stefano.

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