Can Paco Alcacer challenge Barcelona's current front-three for a starting place?
Barcelona surprisingly decided they needed another striker during this transfer window, despite scoring over 100 goals last season with the formidable front-three of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi. Manager Luis Enrique possibly acknowledged that there was an over-reliance on the trio to play together injury-free, for over 60 games a season. In came Paco Alcacer, a Spanish striker from Valencia, but what can he offer that Barcelona don’t already have?
Barcelona currently are the holders of La Liga, and the Copa Del Rey, after doing the double in both domestic competitions last season. They were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, in a game where they could not unlock the back-four of Diego Simone’s men. One belief of the signing of Alcacer is that he offers something from the bench, that they don’t already have. Arda Turan would probably have been their biggest goal-threat from the bench, and with 13 goals in 25 starts for Valencia last season, Alcacer would become a good option for coming on against a tired defence and breaking through.
It is clear that with the team at his disposal, Luis Enrique’s primary goal is to win everything. To do that, he needs to make sure his squad is fresh and performing in every competition. With Neymar at the Olympics, Turan was able to come in and take over efficiently. If Luis Suarez was injured, now Alcacer adds an option to come in and do the job. While Valencia finished 12th last season, Alcacer proved he was capable of scoring goals in an under-performing team, and behind Alvaro Negredo in the pecking order.
Alcacer will also want to prove he can cut it with the elite. He was picked for the recent Spanish squad, but Alvaro Morata was once again preferred up-front. With Morata at Madrid, Alcacer can use this opportunity at rivals Barcelona to perform and take on Morata for the title of Spanish striker. In truth, Morata is probably behind Karim Benzema and with Alcacer behind Suarez, both strikers are in similar situations.
Speaking in a press-conference after the 2-0 win over Belgium, Jordi Alba spoke about his delight at his club signing Alcacer.
“He will give us a lot, although the three forwards he has ahead of him are the best in the world. He’s a player with a lot of goals, he will work hard and Barcelona were spot on to sign him,” he said.
Alcacer represents another Spanish player playing at the top of the Spanish game. It may still be a hard challenge for him to become the number one, but for now, Alcacer should take pride in being the man Barcelona turn to when they need something just that little bit extra.
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