Serious injury puts brakes on Premier League move for Villa
Chelsea and Liverpool frustrated as Barca striker is ruled out for four months after breaking shinbone
DAVID VILLA's prospects of a move to the Premier League appear to have been scuppered after the Spanish striker suffered a broken shinbone during Barcelona's 4-0 victory over al-Sadd in the World Club Cup semi-final.
The club confirmed that Villa had a "fracture to the tibia in his left leg", which they estimated would sideline him for four to five months. The 30-year-old then announced on his Facebook page that he was targeting a return by the Champions League Final on 19 May.
The news will disappoint his Premier League suitors, with Chelsea and Liverpool reportedly tracking Spain's record goal-scorer. There have been persistent rumours in Spain that Villa is surplus to requirements at the Camp Nou having allegedly fallen out with Lionel Messi and scored just five league goals this season.
Speculation over his future reached fever pitch when he was left out of the starting line-up for Saturday's 3-1 Clasico victory over Real Madrid, although manager Pep Guardiola dismissed the rumours as "lies".
Following yesterday's injury, Guardiola emphasised Villa's importance "as a colleague and as a player" and refused to discuss buying a replacement during January's transfer window.
Barcelona will now focus on Sunday's final against Brazilian team Santos.