Bishs Briefs - Villa departure only a Mata of time
Published: 10 Nov 2009 - 09:33:07
Valencia's lethal striker David Villa is doing little to put off would be suitors, but in Juan Manuel Mata they have a torch-bearer for the next generation.
As we waited for 2008-09 to become 2009-10, world record transfer fees were paid, the USA managed to beat Spain to reach the FIFA Confederation Cup Final, and Carlos Tevez swapped red for blue in Manchester.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the summer was that Valencia, despite being in debt to the tune of around £400m, managed to retain the services of the predatory David Villa.
Failure to win qualification for this season's Champions League, spiralling debts and work on a 'FIFA five-star' stadium at Nou Mestalla' being abandoned for the foreseeable future, surely meant one thing - Los Ches cashing in on their most sellable and valuable asset.
Villa equals goals. It is as simple as that. 118 goals in 208 career La Liga appearances, 111 goals in 193 games for Valencia, 31 goals in 43 games last season, 34 goals in 51 caps for Spain, eight goals in nine La Liga games this season. No matter how you look at it - David Villa guarantees goals.
That he is now facing a second successive season out of the Champions League is astounding. The fact that he is not playing in Europe's premiere competition this season, is, with the January transfer window approaching, surely a concern for a Valencia side that have started their League campaign in scintillating fashion and look a good shout for qualification for next season's Champions League.
If 'El Guaje' (The Kid) continues his blistering goalscoring exploits - the temptation to part with a cheque in the region of £40m may prove to be too much for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, and closer to home Barcelona, or Real Madrid. The boy who was once rejected by Real Oviedo for being too short is no longer short of admirers.
Villa was believed to be in tears at the collapse of a summer transfer to Pep Guardiola's all-conquering side before Zlatan Ibrahimovic swapped the San Siro for the Nou Camp, adding further fuel to the flames that a deal may be in place to take him to the Bernabeu next season.
Valencia's deadly number seven, top scorer at EURO 2008, and who scored three goals in 211 minutes of football at the 2006 World Cup also holds the Spanish record for scoring in six successive internationals. Only a collective effort from the rich and the wealthy in one of Europe's most promising and prosperous cities, prevented Valencia from having little choice in cashing in on the talents of a man they paid just £8.25m for from Real Zaragoza in 2005, after he had plundered 31 goals in 73 La Liga games.
Had it not been for the medical excellence of a Spanish doctor we may never have known the goalscoring talents of a man who required emergency surgery to save his leg after he broke his femur aged just four years old.
Alongside Villa is an example of Real Madrid's ineptitude to integrate its talented youngsters into the first team. Whilst Fernando Torres, Andres Iniesta, Xavi , and, of course, Villa, may grab all the headlines for the current European Champions, in Mata, who was part of the Spanish side that won the UEFA U19 European Championship in 2006, they have a player that can carry the flag for the next raft of Spanish stars such as Sergio Asenjo, Fran Merida and Athletic Bilbao's mercurial Iker Muniain.
In last month's World Cup Qualifier versus Armenia, Mata became the youngest player to ever be given the responsibility of taking a penalty for the senior side. A small fact it may seem but it speaks volumes for the regard he is held in by those that take to the field alongside him. He duly dispatched.
Not only has he notched up five goals in all competitions for Valencia this year, but his link-up play, positioned slightly deep and to the left of Villa, allowing him to feed off the remainder of Valencia's attacking axis, David Silva and Pablo Hernandez, to supply the ammunition that fires Villa to the top of the 'Pichichi' and gives Unai Emery's side hope of a return to Champions League nights at the Mestalla before a switch to their new 75,000 capacity home, once the clubs finances allow for its completion.
Whether David Villa's goals bring in the prize money to fund its completion, or his transfer fee plays a significant part in Los Ches moving just under three miles north, to their new home, remains to be seen.
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