Spanish newspaper El Periodico has attempted to shine some light on the reasons behind Victor Valdes’s decision not to seek a new contract with Barcelona.
The 30-year-old announced last week that he would not be seeking a new deal with the club when his current contract at the Nou Camp expires in 2014, but the decision has taken everyone by surprise.
So why leave after a decade between the sticks at the Nou Camp making almost 500 appearances in what is probably the best side in Barcelona’s history?
According to El Periodico the issues go back to 2010 and the departure of goalkeeping coach Juan Carlos Unzue for the head coach’s post at Numancia. Valdes put forward the name of José Manuel Ochotorena, with whom he had worked when Ochotorena was goalkeeping coach of the Spanish national team but who is a former Real Madrid keeper.
Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta opted instead for José Ramón de la Fuente and told Valdes that the club were seeking to sign a new goalkeeper from the start of the 2013-14 season with whom Valdes would compete as an equal.
Neither the decision to appoint de la Fuente and the recruitment of a new rival sat well with Valdes and he decided his time at the club was over. The reasons he made public about personal motivation and the need for a new challenge were valid in themselves but El Periodico claims a discontentment with the upper echelons of the club was also a reason for his departure.
Reina Agent To Meet Liverpool
Pepe Reina’s agent will meet Liverpool shortly to talk about his client’s future. The 30-year-old is believed to be one of the candidates to succeed Valdes – although some reports claim that his age will count against him – but Manuel Garcia Quilon is set to sit down with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers to talk about his client’s future in the face of rumours linking him with Barca.
Earlier this week Reina’s father Miguel said the Liverpool player would be “delighted” to return to the club where he began his career.
Manchester United’s David Gea, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, currently on loan at Atletico Madrid, are among the favourites to take over from Valdes.
Arsenal, Juve Keen On Villa
Meanwhile, striker David Villa is a target for Serie A leaders Juventus. The 31-year-old has also been linked with Arsenal and some outlets suggest the Gunners could make a £10million bid this month.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova met with Villa last week and told him he would not be allowed to leave during the current transfer window either on loan or in a permanent move.
Villa spent eight months of last season sidelined through injury and has fallen down the Nou Camp pecking order as a result. However, after picking up a thigh injury in a Copa del Rey clash with Cordoba earlier this month he has been included in Barca’s 19-man squad that travels to Malaga the club’s quarter-final second leg clash on Thursday.