Spain's all-time record goalscorer David Villa almost signed for Arsenal last January, according to the man himself.
Villa confirmed that Arsene Wenger wanted to bring him to the Emirates Stadium, but the transfer failed to materialise because his club at the time, Barcelona, wanted to keep him until the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Instead, Barcelona made a promise to Villa that he could leave the Camp Nou at the end of the season.
He did - but not to join Arsenal. He was eventually snapped up by Atletico Madrid for a bargain €5.1m fee - and has since scored eight goals in 15 league appearances for Diego Simeone's side, who currently sit joint top of the Primera Liga table.
"Arsenal’s offer was very good for the club and great for me, but they (Barcelona) did not deem it feasible for me to leave at that time. I was told that I was needed," Villa revealed in an interview with Canal+.
"I’m happy (that I joined Atletico) because my goals and performance on the field have helped the team to achieve their goals, because after all, as you know, I think more collective than individual.
"The club has always shown me great affection, and fulfilled their promise to sell me in the summer. I have only words of gratitude for Barca."
Villa, who turned 32 this month, was a key part of the Barcelona side that won the 2011 Champions League title under Pep Guardiola.
In his three seasons with the Catalan giants he scored 48 goals in all competitions, but the club's decision to sign Neymar in June convinced Villa to move on.
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