Chelsea, among a host of clubs, have emerged as favorites to sign Spanish club Barcelona striker David Villa, who joined the Catalans just 19 months ago from La Liga rivals Valencia.

The speculation over the Spain forward’s future came into question after Barca boss Pep Guardiola decided to omit Villa from his starting line-up for Saturday’s 3-1 El Clasico victory at Real Madrid. The Spaniard had been acquired by Barca for a hefty sum of around £33 million.

Although Spanish newspaper Marca previously published a report claiming that English clubs Chelsea, Aston Villa and Liverpool had shown interest in the striker, Barca boss has rubbished such claims fully.

The boss said very clearly that what Marca had talked about is a complete lie as he has not even spoken to Villa personally as all the players in his squad are also in his long term plans. The only reason he came up with as many as 25 starting line-ups this season was because he felt that it was the best thing to do. Villa's recent injury, which will keep him out of for 5-6 months, may or may not be a problem to Chelsea as the Blues are thinking about the long term.

However, the Spaniard has continuously fallen down the pecking order at the Nou Camp this season and has reportedly fallen out with teammate and star player Lionel Messi, according to a Metro report.

Villa, who joined Barca from Valencia in 2010, has made a total of 75 appearances for the Catalan club and has managed to score 32 times.