Ah, to be in Barcelona. Savoury wine, impassioned music, reasonable rents (124th costliest city in the world, I do intend to own a villa there in five years time) immaculately precise architecture (read: Antoni Gaudi), and equally fastidious football. What’s not there to love? In many ways, Valencia skipper, Paco Alcacer’s move to Barcelona is the stuff of dreams, in a whole magnitude of ways, as far lifestyle is concerned. But, as afar as the footballing aspects go, it’s a wee bit dodgy, isn’t it?
Regardless, T4O plays the devil’s advocate and investigates all the possible ways this move could better Barcelona’s chances of dominating the La Liga roost.
#1 Weaken Your Opponents
It’s the tried and tested method Barcelona and their bitter rivals, Real Madrid have plied over the better part of a century. It’s nothing quite as enjoyable than destabilising your would-be competitors by dangling the carrot of certitude and celebrity, as bait for their established stars, and then see the clubs reel. Valencia, however, have gotten used to that over the years and have perfected a scouting system that allows for them to turn a hefty profit all the while they look to find a suitable replacement or even an upgrade. Regardless, though, the bedding in period for a player who would come in to replace the Valencia captain needs to be taken into account.
#2 Barca DNA
Hedonistic as it may sound, Barcelona, this season have been all about stockpiling talents, who were potential starters for their respective former teams, but not quite as good enough to displace the demi-gods in their starting eleven. And so, the trend has continued, with Andre Gomes, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, and Denis Suarez, who will have their work cut out to be able to establish themselves as Barcelona mainstays.
Alcacer disdain and fearlessness on the ball would fit right into the Barcelona fabric of footballing panache. His exemplary first touch, coupled with his predatory instincts, deceptively-quick dribble, ambidexterity, proclivity for the seldom tricks and flick, would not be out of place amongst his new team-mates.
Valencia’s heavy emphasis on passing has attuned Paco to always keep his head up, a trait that will be tested with the demanding Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi around. Ideally, playing through the centre, the 23-year-old is equally comfortable being interchanging with wing-forwards, a tendency he displayed at ready frequency at Valencia, with now West Ham man, Sofiane Feghouli, pulling his markers wide and consequently creating space for those around him.
#3 A Different Number 9
Paco Alcacer’s move might seem nothing more than an embellishment, and ornamental in nature, but, it’s not quite so. Despite standing at 5’9′, he’s as burly as a Spanish striker can come. His physical frame will allow him and Barcelona to ‘change it up a bit’, providing the Catalans with a kind of focal point in attack they haven’t had in recent years – a mobile target man. While Luis Suarez has been shoehorned into playing that role, and with deadly effect, it will give the Uruguayan immense pleasure to not having to shoulder the burden on his own for the entirety of the season, as Paco is a more organic fit off the bench when the situation demands it. Thereby, elevating both their natural games.
Jon Depp (JD)
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