Arsenal dealt £17m blow in pursuit of Barcelona star

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Arsenal have been dealt a transfer blow in pursuit of Barcelona striker David Villa.

The Spanish international has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, with manager Arsene Wenger reportedly tracking the player for several months.

However, a move in January failed to materialise, and The Daily Star Sunday now claims that the La Liga leaders have doubled their asking price for the player.

The paper goes on to report that Tito Vilanova wants £17million for the player, which could force the Gunners to abandon their pursuit of the 31-year-old.

Villa has recently forced his way back into contention at the Nou Camp, although the report claims Arsenal were ready to reignite their interest in the player after rumours of a rift between the former Valencia star and Lionel Messi.

However, the Catalan giants are preparing a two-year contract offer, and a source close to the player confirmed that an official offer has not been forthcoming.

“We have still not received a formal offer but David is happy in Barcelona,” the source told the paper.

The news will be a blow for Arsenal, who are light of options in attack this season.

Having failed to add in the position during the January transfer window, Wenger has French international Olivier Giroud as the only out-an-out striker at his disposal. The paper claims he won't break the bank to add Villa to the Gunners' attack in the summer.

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