Football

Barcelona director denies Arsenal approach for David Villa

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Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has denied suggestions that Arsenal made an offer for David Villa during the January transfer window, and insists the Spanish striker remains in the club's plans moving forward.

Arsenal were frequently linked with a swoop for Villa as Arsene Wenger strived to bring reinforcements to the Emirates Stadium before the transfer deadline, with reports claiming the Gunners made a formal approach for his signature.

Zubizarreta, however, has dismissed the notion that Barcelona were approached by Arsenal with regards to Villa, and claims the 31-year-old retains the full support of the Catalan giants as he bids to recapture his best form following a broken leg last season.

"We did not receive a written offer from Arsenal. He is an important player for us," Zubizarreta told TV3.

"We have spoken a lot with him about his situation and his recovery [from long-term injury suffered in December 2011], because he continues to score goals and show his talent for finishing."

Although any potential pursuit of Villa could prove futile for Arsenal, the acquisition of goalscoring reinforcements is likely to be a priority for the Gunners when the transfer window opens again in the summer.

Arsenal have still yet to sufficiently compensate for the departure of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United last year and, according to the Daily Mail, could be tempted to sell Lukas Podolski after only one season at the Emirates Stadium.

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