Barcelona paid £27 million to sign Valencia striker Paco Alcacer last summer, per The Mail, and the deal appeared to make perfect sense at the time.
Alcacer was not only a fully-fledged Spain international but also one of La Liga’s most impressive poachers who averaged around a goal every other game during his final two seasons with Los Che.
And Barca wanted quality back-up in attack if, for whatever reason, the so-called ‘MSN’ were not able to take to the field in their triumvirate form. However, it just so happened that the form and fitness of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar remained intact throughout the season so Alcacer was limited to just six league starts.
And, after played just 115 minutes in La Liga so far this season, Barca manager Ernesto Valverde refused to rule out the prospect of the 24-year-old leaving in January. This, according to talkSPORT, put Southampton and Crystal Palace sides crying out for a goalscorer on red alert - especially with Alcacer considering a move in search for more game time.
However, with Newcastle United’s striking options still under scrutiny, Rafael Benitez should perhaps consider utilising his knowledge of the Spanish game and taking full advantage of Alcacer’s potential availability.
Much has been made of Dwight Gayle’s poor Premier League record, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s tendency to self-destruct and summer signing Joselu’s failure to succeed at Stoke City but there’s no question that Alcacer is a cut above.
An inability to make the grade at Barcelona is no great shame, after all, and the Spaniard’s expert ability to sniff out a chance could be the difference in tight encounters. Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Brighton, where Joselu missed a hatful of chances, springs to mind.
The Magpies struggled to make an impact in the summer transfer market, however, and it remains to be seen whether owner Mike Ashley would be willing to splash out on a player who would still cost a hefty sum despite a disappointing year.
Yet, Alcacer could be the difference between a relegation dogfight and a mid-table finish.