AF Pow-wow: Villa, or Atlético, to the rescue?

Our staff members exchange their views on Atleti's decision to sign David Villa

david villa passes medical at atletico madrid

Villa is already sporting Atleti training gear
(Photo: Dani Hidalgo)

Following a few weeks of animal trapping, growing corn and squash and making pots out of clay, our Indios have returned to the village to deliberate over Atlético’s surprise signing of veteran striker David Villa.

Here’s what our tribe had to say:

Martin: My first reaction about the deal, apart from a bit of shock, was happy feelings and good thoughts and, for the most part, that remains unchanged.  The move is one that brings to mind the song ‘Lean On Me’, with both Atleti and Villa depending on each other for mutual benefit. At a bargain price, though not quite the bargain it initially appeared to be — the 31-year-old will cost us over €30 million if he remains at the club all three years of his contract — he gets us out of a bind. Meanwhile, the stage is set for him to return to his past glory, as he had tumbled down the pecking order of Barcelona’s attack following a long injury layoff.

A chip on his shoulder and his heart set on Brazil 2014 fueling his determination, the low-risk gamble on Villa may end up paying Atleti huge dividends.

Billy: I’m very much of two minds about the whole ‘9’ situation, but I do think with Villa the positives outweigh the negatives. The deal we’ve done is an excellent one, although that’s provided that there is reinforcement in other areas and we aren’t just dipping into the bargain bucket for a striker. Villa may be 31 but still has plenty to offer, and comes with a huge profile that can only benefit the club. We may have lost a superstar in Falcao, but next season we’ll have Diego Costa, Adrián, Léo Baptistão and David Villa to choose from in attack, which on paper looks a more-than-healthy pool of options. With the Champions League coming up, depth is hugely important, and at the moment things look promising on that front.

Robel: Initially, I was thrilled with the signing of David Villa, but now that I consider it more carefully, I’m not happy about it. David Villa is a 31-year-old player in decline, who at best has one great season left in him. You can’t honestly believe that he’s a good replacement for Falcao, who scored 70 goals in two seasons for Atleti, whereas Villa scored only 48 goals in three seasons for Barça.

Susanne:I think it’s an awesome signing for that small amount of money and I’m really looking forward to seeing him in the red and white stripes. He has already proven at Valencia and Barcelona that he is able to score lots of goals, so if he avoids injury, he’s a good replacement who can score over 20 goals a season. Villa has a lot of experience and I hope Adrián, Léo Baptistão and Diego Costa will benefit from that and learn a lot from him on and off the pitch. Considering the fact we got him for as little as five million, it was a ‘must’ signing for Atleti.

Gert: I have mixed feelings about the signing of David Villa. More positive than negative though. He’s not young anymore. So that means it’s a short term solution. He’s coming off of a serious injury last year, so will he ever have the same form again? Will he be more injury prone? But he is a class player for sure and he’ll bring experience to the team. Apparently willing to drop wages and we got him really cheap. This means some money remains to be spent, and who knows, that might mean Cholo is not giving up on Diego yet, who could well provide Villa for some goals!

Next week we’ll discuss plans to replace the bear in the club’s crest with a silhouette of Diego Costa.

  • How the mighty have fallen! Spain’s top goalscorer ever sold for a bag of chips (or crisps, or churros) to Atletico… But once that depressing thought vanishes, it’s actually a great chance to see Villa shine again. The Spanish NT physios say he’s now back into his old shape, as his tibia injury usually makes players hesitant for many months after they’ve actually recovered. He’s always been better with a bigger striker on the side (Mr Costa), and the fans will love him immediately, so everything looks perfect from the outside. Let’s see how it works out.

  • Jimbo_With_the_Dancingshoes

    how come he going to cost us over 30 m? any sources?

    You know thats not a valit argument that Falcao Scored more goals in the last two seasons. When Falcao of cause was the front man of Atléti and the one to score all the goals. Where Villa was 1: long term injured 2: Villa was NOT as i´m sure you know he was forced to play winger with the role to create chances and space for Messi. Also I wouldn´t say he only has one season left in him, look at players like Di Natale and Totti old but gold.

    This is also a good buy commercial-vice as he is well loved across spain and would make us more loved inside spain.

    Well anyway hope it turns out for the better. Aupa Atléti!

  • super3athens

    well… 5.1 millions transfer fee(if he stays all those years) is fantastic… he has a little ‘big’ wage(less than falcao) but it doesn’t matter… it’s a move for a fantastic striker but at the worst(not be the same player again) we are not going to lose a lot of money so i think it’s the best deal it’s a bargain… as i noticed before some days we shouldn’t spend 20-30 mill for a striker we simply can’t afford it financially. he will do the same job with falcao i believe if he has costa near him to serve him and if we buy a winger!

  • yon

    This is a good solution for 1 season! He will try hard as he wants to be the main man up top at Brazil 2014!

    But yeah I wont be too impressed if the rest of the transfer budget isn’t used wisely! Also means Saul, Leo or Pizzi won’t be used in a deal for Negredo!

  • Martin Rosenow

    @Jimbo_With_the_Dancingshoes The annual fee payments are almost negligible compared to his annual salary, which, after taxes is 6 million euros. This means that what we will pay each year will amount to over 10 million per year.

    Multiple reports in the Spanish media have said he will earn very close to what he was earning at Barcelona, which was 6 million–which was set to increase to 8 million this season.

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    But I mean is his salary confirmed? Because as I understand it he agreed on a pay-cut when signing for us.

  • Martin Rosenow

    @Jimbo_With_the_Dancingshoes The pay cut was that instead of earning 8 million by remaining at Barcelona, he will continue to earn 6 million.

    Our contact at Diario AS confirmed it to me.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    “He will cost us 30 million”
    well Martin, when you say it like that it sounds a lot .. but it’s not
    5 million in 3 season for Spain’s all-time top scorer is not a lot
    6 million a year as a salary for Villa is not a lot
    Falcao earns 7 with Monaco, Ronaldo is so sad because he only earns 10, Ibrahimovic earns 14, and Yaya Toure (a midfielder) is earning 13 for crying out loud !!
    that’s the market price

    while in the other way : why not talk about how much money Villa will bring to us, he will attract sponsors, his goals can put us in CL 1/4 finals or 1/2 finals .. how much money is that .. and he will do it, just remember his goal at Wembley in Van der Sar sheets from not even a half chance

    Robel :
    we both know that you can’t compare between Falcao at Atleti and Villa (or any other striker) at Barca
    It’s a whole different thing,
    Barca have different style of play, whole team playing under the shadow of Messi, Villa wasn’t actually a striker but more a winger (like Adrian),
    while in Atleti the whole team was playing for Falcao, he was a “9” , his only job was scoring goals

    and lets not never forget the 14 penalty goals of Falcao and the horrible injury of Villa

    Billy :
    I agree with you, with Villa, Costa, Adrian, Pizzi & Leo we have a stronger attack than last season, even without Falcao

  • Arjit

    I was also going to use di natale as an example. Some players have a playing style or develop a playing style that doesn’t require them to be the fastest/strogest/most athletic player in the world. They’re smart with their play and have enough skill to more than make up for their declining physical abilities. Villa to me really seems like that type of player. He out smarts the defenders when he dribbles, not like ronaldo runnning in a straight line, he shots the ball with finnesse, doesn’t try to rip the net, he tries to beat the offside trap, knows when to lay the ball off etc. his positioning is sublime. Teaming him up with the rugged animal diego costa is going to be a fun thing to watch.

  • Alex21

    Yon, hell of a last sentence. That is a good deal to me.

  • kris

    What if our attack was like this? This would be deadly.

    Villa-Costa-Papu Gomez
    But, for this formation Koke has to improve his defensive part of the game.

  • Arjit

    I think Costa prefers to not be pure center forward, he’ll probably drop wide a lot of the time with villa cutting in. Also, before we jump the gun with a winger let’s see what pizzi and Leo baptistao can do out wide. Diego is the last piece I think that’s missing and a back up CB.

  • starvs

    Still, any striker near as good as Villa would be making at least half what he does on wages, but cost much much more transfer fee wise, so it works out in atleti’s favor still.

    Plus, and this is unconfirmed conjecture on my part, the wage bill is much less important for atleti given the financial restrictions. I believe the 30m transfer budget is strictly with regards to the transfer budget, so minimizing the transfer spending however to allow for other signings is crucial. Call it financial trickery, a loophole, whatever, it needed to be done.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    if the news of signing Demichelis is true, so we should put all our money on Diego

    we don’t need a center midfielder, we have Gabi & Mario, we have Saul, we have Koke (who CM is his original position) and we still have Tiago (who I don’t know if he has signed a new contract or not, but I see him every day in training pictures !)

  • EC

    I would like us to sign a good more defensive minded CM, (Toulalan would’ve been perfect if he hasn’t went to monaco) and play Koke along side him. Have gabi and Suarez for competition/backup and sell tiago