Every once in a while, there is a transfer that was just "meant to be". Real Madrid can claim Zinedine Zidane to be that man, Manchester United would point to Wayne Rooney and Chelsea are epitomised by Frank Lampard and John Terry. In previous years Barcelona had their perfect signing, and he was a certain buck-toothed Brazilian named Ronaldinho.
The settling in process you would expect from an international transfer was not apparent; instead, FC Barcelona had theselves a magician ready to cast a spell upon arrival. Ronaldinho was at his footballing home, and the results began to materialise. League titles, and of course that famous night in Paris, they claimed the UEFA Champions League, thanks in huge part to Samuel Eto’o, yet another player born to succeed in the Blaugrana strip.
While the La Masia graduates get the majority of the credit, there is tangible evidence to suggest that the signings are just as important. Just imagine a Barcelona side lacking Dani Alves as an outlet...
The second year of Pep Guardiola’s reign was a (relative) disappointment. The signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was supposed to be the Samuel Eto’o of this new generation, but instead Pep ended up with another Maxi Lopez. The intention was there: a signing to define an era, for a player that would be an instant hit, and lead the club to glory.
It was clear that Ibrahimovic was not that man. Sulking around, general laziness in front of goal and in his attitude, this was not the transfer that it was meant to be. "Mr. Right" was still out there, but luckily, he did not take long to find.
The very next year, Ibrahimovic was sent to AC Milan on loan and Barcelona unveiled their replacement. A €30 million signing from Valencia, it was the very same player whom FC Barcelona had declined a year earlier in favour of the gangly Swede: one David Villa.
Fresh off a World Cup triumph with many of his new teammates, there was a lot of expectation on El Guaje to deliver the goals. Top scorer at Valencia for many-a-year, now playing with Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, instantaneous fireworks were demanded by press and spectator alike. In some senses, Villa disappointed in his first year, especially during that well-publicised goal-drought, but saving the best ‘til last, his finish in the Champions League final against Manchester United re-ignited the relationship between player and supporter.
You could see from his celebration: David Villa had found his home. Curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net, El Guaje had reached the peak of his powers.
A summer break was far from ideal, but when it mattered, Villa produced yet again. It was fair to say that Real Madrid had been dominant in the match up until that point, but in the first leg of the Supercopa, Villa scored a goal of the season contender with a 20-yard curler past the frantic reach of Iker Casillas.
[HD] David Villa Goal vs. Real Madrid (Super Copa Final 2011) (via EdwinTV42)
Since then, he has not looked back. Of course, he still has problems with staying onside, but with such creative visionaries behind him, the chances are beginning to become more frequent, and the goals are following suit. Cutting inside from the left-hand side of the attack El Guaje is a fearsome proposition for any defender, and whether he is scoring, or just creating space for his colleagues to exploit, David Villa is no doubt the perfect option on the left-hand side.
It may have taken a little longer than anticipated, but Villa has settled into his position, and is ready to reap the rewards. Some transfers were just meant to happen, and David Villa to FC Barcelona is one of them.