Arsenal have been boosted in their attempts to land David Villa after the striker intimated to Barcelona chiefs that he wants to leave.
The Spain forward is on the periphery of the Barca first team and is keen to leave the Nou Camp for regular football.
It is understood Villa is positive about joining the Gunners after hearing of Arsene Wenger’s strong interest, which was first revealed by Sportsmail in December.
Talks between the Gunners and Barca chiefs are ongoing and the Premier League club remain hopeful a deal for Villa can be achieved towards the end of the transfer window.
Barca had maintained that Villa, 31, would not be available this month, but Arsenal hope the player’s attempts to force a move will encourage the Catalan club into reconsidering.
Villa has returned to training after missing three matches with a hamstring injury.
Barcelona say coach Tito Vilanova will miss the King’s Cup clash with Malaga on Thursday as he undergoes treatment for cancer of the salivary gland.
‘The coach, who is following his recuperation treatment, will not be present for the match against Malaga,’ said a club spokesman.
Vilanova was flying to New York’s Sloan Kettering Memorial hospital for treatment of the cancer and will be away for at least 10 days. The 44-year-old coach saw specialists in New York earlier this month.
Vilanova is undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy following a December 20 operation on a gland called the parotid. He had a similar operation a year earlier but tests showed the cancer had returned.
Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura will be in charge when they host Malaga, having drawn the first leg 2-2. – Daily Mail