After being strongly linked with David Villa in January, Arsenal could be set to test Barcelona’s resolve for the forward this coming summer.
The 31-year-old striker has been out of favour at the Nou Camp this term, in the aftermath of his struggles to regain full fitness after suffering a broken leg in late 2011.
Rumours of a rift with superstar teammate Lionel Messi have not aided his cause either, and Villa has started only eight games this season for the Catalan giants.
As such, Barca boss Tito Vilanova appears willing to oversee his close-season departure, though he would insist on receiving a substantial fee for the Spanish international.
Vilanova is thought to want around £17m for his attacker, who is eager to remain in national team coach Vicente del Bosque’s plans by playing more regular football.
And though many might expect Arsene Wenger to shirk at such a fee for a 31-year-old, he could be willing to make an exception to his traditional policy to land a player of Villa’s calibre.
Wenger is in the hunt for a natural goalscorer, with Olivier Giroud more often finding the net in short spurts rather than on a very consistent basis since his summer arrival from Montpellier.
In Villa though, Arsenal would go a long way to plugging the vast hole left by Robin Van Persie’s summer departure to Manchester United.
A former World Cup Golden Boot winner, it is a testament to Villa’s quality that he can still command such a hefty transfer fee with just a year to run on his Catalan contract.
53 goals in 86 Spain appearances is an indication of the former Valencia man’s ruthlessness in front of goal too, whilst his six strikes from 16 total outings this season proves he retains his sharpness.
Villa’s summer arrival would swell a Spanish contingent at the Emirates that already includes Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla, though it remains to be seen whether or not Wenger will make such a significant outlay for the forward.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.