Thursday morning, Michael Bradley’s agent, Ron Waxman, tweeted that NYCFC is signing Villa to a 3-year deal, per his sources in Spain.
It was a bit of a shock given Atletico Madrid is not part owner of NYCFC. But when you consider who is pulling the lever at Manchester City it makes perfect sense. City’s current director, Txiki Bergeristain, brought Villa to Barcelona for €40 million in 2010, when he was directing the Catalan club. Their paths may cross again, although Villa’s move to NYCFC will be nowhere near that price tag.
Villa’s transfer to Atletico was for €2.1 million with a clause giving Barca 50% of any future transfer fees. His current contract with Atletico, which paid him €5 million, ends this June. If Villa signs with NYCFC, he’ll forgo his option to extend for one additional year.
Villa, who at age 32, can still play, has scored 13 goals in 36 La Liga games for Atletico. While his role with the Spanish National Team is in question, only appearing in 5 World Cup qualifiers, his numerous skill sets can very well translate to Major League Soccer. He can poach, create from the left-wing and play center forward. The best comparison is with the DP from his soon to be cross river rival, Thierry Henry, hence why Villa was bought as Henry’s replacement at Barcelona.
Villa is going to be the face of NYCFC. Truly it is not a bad selection as he is beloved by the Spanish supporters. He is viewed as the non-Fernando Torres. David Villa is in, but not of, Spain’s Golden Generation, despite his age and slight under 6 foot frame. He did not follow the path of others, growing through the youth system of La Liga’s top clubs. He did not reach one of the big (non-two) La Liga clubs until the ripe old age of 24. However, Villa always seems to have the ability to be in the right place at the right time, both on and off the field.
In 2005 while still with Real Zaragoza, Luis Aragonés called Villa into the national side. Soon Villa would replace Real Madrid’s great Raul as the team’s striker in the 2006 World Cup and eventually surpassing him as the country’s all-time leading scorer. Internationally his profile rose after winning the Golden Boot in the 2008 Euro Championship, behind a hat-trick performance versus Russia in the group stages and a 92nd minute goal to beat Sweden. Debt issues forced Valencia FC to sell him to Barca in May 2010 prior to the World Cup. With the Barca brand behind him and a 5 goal performance in the 2010 World Cup, Villa officially became a star. After 3 years at Barca where he won 4 trophies and scored 48 goals, he was replaced by Brazilian wonderboy Neymar Jr. and sold to Atletico for less than 5% of what he was purchased for by Barca. Of course as we already know, it worked out at El Atleti.
As this iconic Atleti team begins to tear part due to financial stress, Villa falls into another great situation. While MLS and NYCFC will market him as the face of the new franchise, it appears City Football Group will try to make him their first global footballer.
Fox Sports Australian reports Villa could be on loan to NYCFC’s sister club Melbourne Heart in the A-League. It has been suspected, if not hoped, that NYCFC would be the beneficiary of the Man City connection by receiving players from the parent club on loan. If the report is true and Villa goes to Melbourne this indicates a larger Man City global sport strategy.
This type of global footballer can shuttle around to sister clubs in Manchester, New York, Melbourne, and Yokohama, Japan. What remains to be seen is how MLS, in their ‘control every player’s contract’ system will manage. Both David Villa and the league is entering into a brave new world with sky blue as far as the eye can see.
This Week’s Throw-In:
- Peru National Team and FC Dallas Goalkeeper went to twitter after Alianza Lima, rival to his former club Club Universitario de Deportes, won the Copa Inca. Two things struck me, one should a national team go on twitter mocking one of the biggest clubs in his country? Is it cool if Iker threw shadow on Barca winning the Copa del Rey, or Joe Hart rips Manchester United after an FA Cup championship? And two, the Copa Inca looks a lot like the Supporter Shield something Fernandez should make a goal of his to win, perhaps not trophy to mock.
- According MLSsoccer.com, the Wednesday night match between Chivas USA and the Portland Timber had 3,702 in attendance. The NASL Indy Eleven defeated the Dayton Dutch Lions 5-2 Wednesday in a third round US Open Cup match in front of 9,181 fans. And that game was held in Indianapolis, at the same time and city where Indiana Pacers defeated the Miami Heat in game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Yes, the LA Kings did play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Finals of Stanley Cup playoffs, but that game was in Chicago… And Indiana cares a lot more about basketball than California about hockey.