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Southampton are reportedly preparing a January move for Paco Alcacer, Barcelona’s out-of-favour striker.
That’s according to The Sun‘s Gary Stonehouse, who reports Saints have identified the former Valencia man as the solution to their immense attacking problems.
Per the report, Barcelona are willing to negotiate a move, as the 24-year-old has failed to live up to expectations and has barely featured this season. He cost the Catalans £30 million a year ago.
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Southampton are looking for a loan deal with an option, but the Blaugrana will likely favour a permanent move immediately.
Saints have stumbled out of the starting gate in the 2017-18 campaign, scoring just five goals in the Premier League so far. As noted by talkSAINTS, the addition of someone like Alcacer would be sorely needed:
📝 Southampton have once again been linked with Barcelona forward Paco Alcacer, a much needed addition upfront #Saintsfc https://t.co/791gTysmiR
Manolo Gabbiadini gave the team a scoring boost when he arrived last season, but the Italian is yet to replicate that form in the current campaign. His only goal so far this season came against West Ham United.
Alcacer was never expected to become a starter for Barcelona―Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are logical starters in the centre of the park―but the Spain international has also been passed over for a bench role this season at times.
New manager Ernesto Valverde appears to have no faith whatsoever in the player, per totalBarca:
Barça squad list for Las Palmas. EV really doesn’t like Paco. https://t.co/uFfCwUicJk
Plenty of exit rumours have already emerged, with Xavi Hernandez at Marca reporting the player is considering his future. Diario Gol (h/t the Daily Star‘s Alex Wood) took things one step further, publishing sensationalist claims of Lionel Messi telling Valverde he can’t play with the striker.
An exit seems inevitable and could happen as early as January―especially if the Catalans want to bring in another striker for depth and need to clear out space to do so.
Alcacer remains a talented player who should hold value, although no one is going to pay the Catalans anything close to £30 million at this point. A loan deal with a relatively high option price could be a solution―if Alcacer fails in England, he could still be sold at a later date, for a lower fee.