Chelsea and Arsenal have been dealt a transfer blow in their pursuit of Spanish striker David Villa.
The 85-cap international has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League over the festive period, despite Barcelona rejecting claims that they would let the player leave the club in January last weekend.
And, whilst both the Blues and Gunners appear to share a keen interest in the 31-year-old former Valencia star, agent Victor Onate insists his client’s future remains at the Nou Camp.
"There is always speculation about David because he is a great forward, but his future is in the hands of Barcelona. They have a contract and it is important to always respect such documents," he told Sky Sports.
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez reportedly joined the chase for the player yesterday (Wednesday), with The Daily Mail claiming that Villa has been targeted as a strike-partner for compatriot Fernando Torres.
Able to play out wide or through the middle, Villa has plenty of experience playing alongside Torres, and Benitez would hope to get the best out of a player struggling for chances in La Liga if he were to move to Stamford Bridge.
Earning £110,000 a week in Catalonia, according to The Daily Mail, Chelsea would have no problems paying the player’s wages, and with Daniel Sturridge poised to move away from west London, there appears to be space for a new striker signing at the club.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are said to be amongst the other clubs monitoring the player’s situation with the Spanish giants.
Light of options in attack themselves, the Gunners have just Olivier Giroud and Marouane Chamakh to choose from in the most advanced position at the Emirates Stadium.
Villa would also be able to play out wide for Arsene Wenger’s side in a 4-3-3 formation, but if the comments from the player’s agent are to be believed, then Arsenal are another side who will simply face disappointment in their pursuit of the player.