Villa will score big with summer move

Martin Rogers
Yahoo! Sports

There may be no right or wrong answer to the question that will dominate David Villa's thoughts after the European Championships, but it will still be one of the toughest choices of the Spanish striker's life.

The Valencia star, whose brilliant hat trick against Russia here on Tuesday gave the Spaniards a dream start to Euro 2008, is being courted by a string of huge clubs prepared to wave vast sums of money in his face.

English Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, along with current La Liga champions Real Madrid and Catalan giants Barcelona, are leading the chase and it would be a surprise if the 26-year-old does not end up at one of those four clubs.

Having already decided to cash in on their most accomplished player, Valencia chiefs must have been rubbing their hands together with every goal Villa struck past Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Their man was already a hot commodity thanks to his outstanding performances last season, but his efforts will only add extra spice to the race for his signature.

It is likely that all Villa's pursuers will have little trouble in stumping up the estimated 40 million Euro transfer fee that Valencia will demand, and that the ultimate decision will come down to the player himself.

And that is where it starts to get interesting.

The opportunity to join Real Madrid is too strong an allure for many to resist. Even the world's best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, voiced his desire to move from Champions League winners Manchester United to the Santiago Bernabeu in the lead-up to this tournament.

As the current darling of the national team, Villa would boost his profile in his homeland even further with a move to Madrid. There have been rumors that Real sporting director Predrag Mijatovic has already cemented a deal that will be announced following the Euros.

Villa's agent Jose Luis Tamargo has confirmed that Barca has also made an approach, although it is believed that if the player did choose to remain in Spain his preference would be with Madrid.

However, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is not a man to give up without a fight, and his financial muscle makes him a force to be reckoned with in any transfer discussion.

The wages Villa could earn at Stamford Bridge (upwards of $250,000 a week) would outstrip what he could rake in elsewhere and would also allow him to fulfil his long-standing ambition to play in England.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres' impact on the Premier League in his first season has not been lost on his close friend Villa, who believes he could be similarly effective.

"I think I'm made to succeed in England," Villa said recently. "But of course it is one thing saying it and quite another getting there and then doing it."

Arsenal is the most intriguing choice of the four pursuers. The north London club does not wield quite the extraordinary level of financial firepower of the other three competitors for Villa, but it is the destination where he feels he could shine brightest on the field.

Villa is an admitted fan of Arsene Wenger's methodology and would relish the chance to link up with Spain teammate Cesc Fabregas at the club level.

"Their brilliant one- and two-touch football and the whole style of rapid counterattack which dominates the top level of the Premier League now is the one which suits my game best of all," Villa said in April.

Wherever Villa does end up, he will be guaranteed Champions League football, plenty of headlines and a massive pay-packet.

Perhaps the hardest part is not in accepting the deal he eventually goes for, but in turning down three disappointed giants.

What to Read Next