Tottenham and Arsenal thwarted in bid to sign David Villa after Barcelona striker signs for Atletico Madrid

Striker will switch to La Liga rivals in £4.3m deal

Tottenham Hotspur received some bad transfer news last night as top striking target David Villa signed for Atletico Madrid.

Villa was always going to leave Barcelona this summer and has decided to stay in La Liga and join Atletico, who will pay just £4.4m for him.

Villa was the striker that the Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, wanted the most this summer, and understandably so, given his brilliant record for Valencia, Barcelona and Spain. The 31-year-old has won two Spanish titles, the Champions League, the World Cup and the European Championship, and is Spain’s all-time top scorer with 56 goals.

Villas-Boas tried to sign him when managing Chelsea in 2011 and said in May he was “one of the world’s best strikers”, with whom he had a “good relationship” and that he was  confident he could make an impact in England.

But Spurs and Villas-Boas will now have to look elsewhere as they try to upgrade their attacking options this summer. Neither Emmanuel Adebayor – recently subject to a bid from Besiktas – nor Jermain Defoe were at their very best last season. After the signing of £17m Brazil midfielder Paulinho, it is up front where Spurs most need to improve.

Their interest in Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao was thought to have ended but now they have to look for a new forward, with Christian Benteke, Roberto Soldado and Loïc Rémy all possible options.

Defoe last night urged Spurs to keep hold of Gareth Bale, their top scorer and best player last season, who is coveted by Real Madrid.

“It’s important he stays,” said Defoe, speaking at the launch of Spurs’ new kit by Under Armour. “This year, we want a great season and we want to get into the Champions League and to do that you’ve got to keep your best players. He’s a special player.”

Michael Dawson, Spurs’ captain,  insisted that Bale – who was also  modelling the new kit – was committed to the club. “He’s a top guy,” said Dawson. “He’s here to do well, like all of us. Like the manager, like the staff at the football club, we’re striving to be successful for this club.

“He is known worldwide. I’m very lucky to play with him,” the defender added. “The kind of goals I’ve seen him score, winning us games... Last year, some of the goals he scored to help win us football matches were unbelievable.”

Under Armour is the Official Technical Partner of Tottenham Hotspur. For more information and to pre-order the new 2013/2014 home and away kits, please visit www.tottenhamhotspur.com

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