Barcelona's long courtship of Valencia striker David Villa is over, with the soon-to-be former member of Los Che set to move to the Spanish champions, according to reports.
Villa will undergo a medical in Barcelona on Friday after Barça's €40 million bid was accepted by Valencia. The move will end a five season run for Villa at the Mestalla, having moved to Valencia from Real Zaragoza in 2005.
Over that time, the Spanish international scored 129 goals in 212 all-competition appearances, becoming the consensus best striker in Spain's Primera Division. He moves to Barcelona after leading Valencia to a third place finish in league and the Europa League quarterfinals, recording 28 goals and 10 assists along the way.
Villa is also the main scoring threat for the Spanish national team, tallying in 36 goals in 55 caps. In 2008, he set the record for most international goals for Spain in one year, scoring 12 times, a mark Villa would equal in 2009.
The 28-year-old striker was linked with Barcelona last summer before the Blaugrana acquired Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been connected with a move back to Italy one year after being acquired from Internazionale. Villa was also said to be open to a move to England, while last summer he had denied interest in such a move.
Though Valencia have had recent financial problems, to this point they had been able to keep stars like VIlla and David Silva. Today, however, Viila finally moves, a move he makes with reverence to his time at Valencia:
"I get a lot of feelings, leaving many friends, but knowing that it is good for the club," he said.
"At Valencia I have grown as a player and as a person. At Valencia I have felt at home from day one and nobody will doubt it to be that way forever.
"I want everyone to know that it has been a great source of pride for me to wear this shirt. It has given me so much and I will always carry it in my heart."
Villa's acquisition calls into question the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barcelona's incumbent striker who lost time at the end of the season as Pep Guardiola went with an attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodríguez and Bojan Krkic.
Ibrahimovic was Barcelona's big signing last summer, coming off a season where he led Internazionale to a title in the Italian Serie A. Barça paid €46 million for the Swedish international, adding Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o to the package sent to Milano.
In his first season in Spain, Ibrahimovic scored 21 goals in 41 appearances, adding 10 assists. He fell out of the first team by season's end, notably being subbed-out of Barça's last Champions League match, playing only 60 minutes at the Nou Camp against his former team.
Though Villa could play with Ibrahimovic, it would be difficult to fit both central strikers into Barcelona's preferred formation.
Villa acquisition means Barcelona's likely attacking trio will be Messi, Pedro, and their newest Spanish international.