Amid all the rumors of David Villa potentially playing for numerous wealthy teams across Europe, Villa expressed this past week that he never sees himself leaving the Mestalla. According to his words to the Spanish press, “I was told I should leave Valencia for the good of the club, soon after that everything changed and from that moment on I never saw myself leaving.”
In addition, he said on the Valencia club website, “My situation depends on the decision of the club. They have decided that I am to stay and I am happy about the goals I have for the start of this season.”
These statements are not quite the passionate remarks of a player who would openly pledge his allegiance for the rest of his career to one team. He insists that he is happy to stay with Valencia, but his comments reek of corporate speak. Because Valencia found themselves in dire financial straits, selling David Villa, their most valuable asset, would make the most business sense. With the infusion of money from now majority shareholder Vicente Soriano and his consortium, Valencia does not need to sell Villa; moreover, keeping a transcendent player now makes more business and team sense because his play on the pitch will likely lead to team success, and Soriano will take advantage of his popularity in jerseys and other paraphernalia sales. Valencia is not in the position that Manchester United is in where they could afford to sell their best player and still be a top European team. If Valencia sells David Villa, even if he demands a €45 million or higher, Valencia does not have quite the cachet of a Manchester United or a Real Madrid or a Barcelona, and attracting a top transfer target will be tough.
Valencia jerked him around for the past six months and yet he says he wants to stay. Could it be that David Villa merely wants to show his gratitude to the team and its fans that spring boarded his career from a promising forward to an international superstar? It very well could be. He has not been known to demand transfers or create distractions within the team. Despite these credentials, supporters anger over players burning them by saying they will stay forever and then leaving six months later. Kaká, Gareth Barry, and others are some examples of these “loyal” players. For the David Villa’s and the Kaká’s of the world, they have to walk a fine line when these circumstances arrive. If they do not swear their loyalty to their teams, the media will wildly speculate on their future whereabouts. If they make the pledge and then transfer to another club, the supporters and the press vilify them as liars and moneygrubbers. There are very few players like Ryan Giggs, Paolo Maldini, and Raúl left in football, so the idea that David Villa is one of these unique players is unlikely in this cynical world. Now that Vicente Soriano returned and renewed a sense of direction to Valencia, he should do all he can to keep David Villa so that loyalty is not a question.