Chelsea ready £12m swoop for in-demand Barcelona striker

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Chelsea are ready to sanction a £12m swoop for Barcelona outcast David Villa but face competition from Arsenal, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Spain international is out of favour under Tito Vilanova at the Nou Camp, with Alexis Sanchez and Pedro preferred to the former-Valencia man. That has prompted speculation that he could be set for a move to the Premier League in January, with Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly interested.

Rafa Benitez has already managed to get Fernando Torres firing at Stamford Bridge, but the report suggests the signing of Villa could be a further attempt to coax the best out of Chelsea's £50m striker and Villa's international teammate.

Torres and Villa helped fire Spain to glory at Euro 2008 and at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

But Chelsea, who believe they can secure the capture of Villa for around £12m, face competition from Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. The Gunners are reportedly looking to strengthen when the window reopens, and the 31-year-old Villa is thought to be an option the Arsenal heirarchy is considering.

Villa joined Barcelona in a £33m deal from Valencia in 2010, and initially was a huge success alongside the likes of Leo Messi and Pedro at the Nou Camp, helping the Catalan giants to win another Champions League in 2011.

But since suffering a long-term injury last year, Villa has dropped down the pecking order, and Chelsea and Arsenal believe they can convince the Spain international to take one last stab at the Premier League. But Barca sporting director Andoni ­Zubizarretta has insisted: “In January, we will keep Villa.”

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