Arsenal could have signed David Villa for €2.3m

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Former Barcelona striker David Villa expected to sign for Arsenal this summer, but the north London club's failure to renew their interest resulted in a €2.3million move to Atletico Madrid.

According to Sky Sports expert Guillem Balague, the 31-year-old was so confident that the Gunners would be back in for him, that he even sent his children to a British school, in preparation for a proposed move to England.

Arsene Wenger made no secret of his desire to bring Villa to the Emirates Stadium in January, with Arsenal offering him a four-year contract, worth a reported €20million, and Barcelona some money for his signature.

However, the Catalan club's refusal to let the Spain international leave Camp Nou at that time threw a spanner in the works, as he played out the rest of the 2012/13 campaign in La Liga.

But, when Barca changed their transfer stance this summer, Arsenal failed to come back with a new bid, much to the striker's surprise. So, he ended his three-year stay with the Spanish champions by agreeing a cut-price switch to the Vicente Calderon.

"In January Arsenal came and offered a four-year deal, about 20m euros, and some money for Barcelona," Balague told Revista. "[But] Barcelona said they were not selling.

"So I think that David Villa, who took his kids to a British school, expected Arsenal to come back but they didn't, because they saw that David Villa in the last six months was not happy and wasn't playing well, and they probably thought he is not what he was."

Villa was restricted to mainly substitute appearances during his final campaign at Barcelona, as he continued his comeback from a broken leg, which had kept him out of action for eight months.

Despite his questionable form and fitness, Diego Simeone was still willing to take a gamble on the striker, as he searched for a replacement for Radamel Falcao, and looks to have made a transfer coup by signing Villa on the cheap.

"Atletico Madrid came in and they got a deal for 2.5m euros - that is all for the first year," Balague continued.

"If he stays for three years it is 4.6m euros. Why so cheap? I found out that Barcelona have a first option on [18-year-old Atletico midfielder] Oliver Torres.

"Now if Atletico fans find out about that they might not be happy but it is one way of Barcelona saying they are getting rid of a big wage and getting a first option on this guy, and let go someone who was not happy either."

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