Villa reveals dramatic Arsenal U-turn but has no regrets over Wenger snub

Date published: Thursday 27th February 2020 11:43 - Jonny Whitfield

Legendary Spain striker David Villa has revealed how he was close to a move to Arsenal in 2013 before choosing to snub then-Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

Villa, who retired in November 2019, was best known for his time in LaLiga where he scored 185 goals and set up 41 others in 353 appearances in spells with Real Zaragoza, Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

From there, the forward travelled across the world playing for New York City FC, Melbourne City and Japanese side Vissel Kobe before eventually hanging up his boots.

Speaking in an interview with BBC Sport, however, Villa has revealed that his career could have taken a different path in the summer of 2013, with Arsenal boss Wenger keen on the attacker.

However, the move fell through and a transfer to Atletico followed.

“I felt 90% in that moment that I [would] go to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger,” the 38-year-old said.

“We were in a lot of meetings and a lot of calls. But in that moment we didn’t arrive to the deal, Atletico Madrid arrived and in three or four days fixed everything.

“I don’t know what would have happened if I’d signed for Arsenal. I’m very happy that I signed for Atletico Madrid, not just for winning the league but for everything.

“I’m very happy to have made that choice.”



Villa went on to make 47 appearances for Atletico, scoring 15 goals and assisting five others.

In other Arsenal news, boss Mikel Arteta has reportedly decided to trigger the option-to-buy clause in defender Pablo Mari’s loan deal.

Mari moved to North London in January but is yet to make his senior debut for the Gunners.

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