Barça to make Villa offer he can’t refuse

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If the Barcelona press are trying to fend off the lustful advances of Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid towards David Villa and lure the Asturian to the Camp Nou couch with a playful pout, then they are going about it in a most peculiar manner.

The front cover of Tuesday’s Sport reports that Barça are going to make another move for the Valencia forward over the summer, in the kind of ‘story’ that becomes ever so popular in the Spanish press during international weeks.

However, despite the fact that the striker could name his price at any club anywhere in the world, the paper are noodling that Barça see one of the best finishers in the world playing on the left wing before becoming the long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

It’s an interesting notion considering that the Swede is just three months older than Villa.

Josep María Casanovas writes that Villa will take the place of Thierry Henry (and Pedro, presumably) as “reports indicate that he is a striker who can cover Henry’s departure and play both on the wing and has a goalscoring record that few footballers in the world can offer.”

Mundo Deportivo are considerably more sensible and reckon that Frank Ribery is Barcelona’s best bet over the summer but have allowed their art department to go a little nuts in the process by sticking the Frenchman’s head in a particularly gormless pose on the front cover with a luminous green background.

The other big news in Barcelona is the launch of Joan Laporta’s political campaign and his fancy new website.

The Barcelona president is trying to get himself elected as a member of the local parliament later this year and is using fancy new tools such as Facebook and Twitter to help him keep it real and street. Word.

“Censors and the media cavern will not be able to twist or dilute our opinions or shared objectives,” burbles the conspiracy-crazy Catalan who has the message that the “time has come to make some brave decisions” below his cheesy-grinned visage.

One of those brave decisions - La Liga Loca is expecting the current politician’s favourite phrase 'tough choices' any day now - is to only have his website in Catalan.

The director of local proper paper La Vanguardia, Lluís Foix, is less than impressed with Laporta’s launch and compares the Barcelona president to Pep Guardiola. “Guardiola works for Barcelona but Laporta has Barcelona working for him,” grumbles Foiz in an article in Mundo Deportivo.

"You work for me. I work for me. We all work for me."

Over in Capital City, Tuesday brings good news for Gonzalo Higuaín, who has finally learned what it will take for him to be both appreciated and respected by Marca.

The bad news that it's quite a tall order, even for Madrid’s top scorer and firm fan’s favourite.

“El Pipita will become a great when he scores a decisive goal in the Champions League final, in el clasico or in the final in Johannesburg on the 11th July,” strops the paper’s director, Eduardo Inda, who probably wanted to add “AND STOPS SCORING MORE GOALS THAN CRISTIANO RONALDO!”

This week’s useless refereeing organisational disaster story comes from Sunday Atlético Madrid v Valencia clash.

There was more than a whiff of controversy when Pérez Burrull awarded a penalty to the home side after consulting with his fourth official who saw - along with the whole stadium - a handball from Carlos Marchena.

Ever the investigative journalist, La Liga Loca probed a proper referee, who said that this kind of business is frowned by upon by his clan but allowed in the rule book.

Nevertheless, it has not stopped Burrull being suspended for next week’s round of action, the second time in a year he has received such a sanction.

The first was after the official’s failure to award two penalties to Osasuna in a clash at the Bernabeu. The referee then proceeded to send off Juanfran for both being hacked down in the box and then complaining about it.

But it seems that Burrull’s job was made that little bit harder on Sunday night, as the headset communication system between the four officials during the game wasn’t working, which is why he had to speak directly to his colleague for advice - advice he also received from the livid Atlético Madrid players, which looks like being the real reason for Burrull being sent to ‘the freezer’.

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