Atletico Madrid have found gold in the bargain bucket. The signing of Spain’s top scorer for a mere €5.1m is pure madness in the modern world of football. Still plenty left within him, the way he was shunned to the side at Barcelona last season following his recovery from a broken leg made a mockery of him. On the few occasions he did play, he showed exactly why he is the best Spanish striker of the modern era.
Atletico usually replace strikers well; Sergio Aguero proved a great replacement for Fernando Torres back in 2007 and then Radamel Falcao proved to excellent replacement for Sergio Aguero in 2011. Both Aguero and Falcao had come from outside Spain, so there was still an element of doubt to them.
But with David Villa, it does exactly what it says on the tin. He will guarantee goals and as a versatile forward that can operate freely across the front-line, and he will fit the Atletico system perfectly. Able to operate as the lone front-man or any other position in a front three, he is perhaps an upgrade on the departed Radamel Falcao. A move to the Premier League seemed imminent, but Atletico were the first to act towards signing the Spanish forward:
“We had a move to the Premier League in mind but then Atleti appeared and within three days all my personal terms had been agreed. From a career point of view, they weren’t lacking anything. They finished third in La Liga and will play in the Champions League. They beat Real Madrid to win the Copa del Rey.”
If anybody will challenge the heavyweights in La Liga, it will be Atletico. There are big things on the horizon at Atletico with a season in the Champions League coming up, it seems David Villa will provide the sort of player for Atletico’s ambitious aims in the competition. Atletico manager Diego Simeone has shown faith in the striker as Villa stated:
“I spoke to Diego Simeone and he showed a lot of confidence in me. I now have to repay that.”
Injuries have been the main problem for David Villa over the past two years, in particular a broken leg. This has resulted in him scoring ten or less league goals in the past two years, a far cry from his 15+ of previous seasons. However, this will simply add more hunger to his game. A full season under his belt could see him challenge for the golden boot.
His move does add an extra interest in the Spanish Supercup, he could make his debut over the two-legged fixture. If he steers Atletico to victory in the final, he could be thorn in Barca’s side, making them looking foolish for letting a top player leave for a mere sum.
Winning over the fans won’t be difficult for David Villa, already a popular figure with the Spanish national team. His unveiling at the Vicente Calderon included a pitch invasion as Atleti fans mobbed their new idol. Memories of Falcao may fade with the new number nine in town. Aiming for his best season yet ahead of the World Cup, Villa seems confident he can fill the void:
“But I am simply at his disposal (Simeone’s) and will play wherever he wants. Falcao was loved here but hopefully I can make sure his absence isn’t felt.”