Paco Alcacer moves to Dortmund: Smart move or complete disaster?
The 2018-19 Bundesliga season already started this past weekend, but the transfer window has not closed yet. And there have been lots of rumours regarding the activity of the league’s biggest teams. Basically, every single team - even Bayern Munich - could add at least one more piece before the window shuts later this week.
Borussia Dortmund do not escape this reality and they have been looking to bolster their attacking depth. The departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January this year hurt the side, but Michy Batshuayi filled the void admirably in the second half of the campaign. But the Chelsea striker was sent out on loan this season to Valencia, meaning Dortmund needed a new striker. And what a coincidence: they secured the services of a former Valencia star in Paco Alcácer, who comes from FC Barcelona on a season-long loan deal.
There is no question that Alcácer needed to leave Barca this season. Once believed to be a hot prospect and a player capable of filling the void left by the likes of David Villa and Fernando Torres in the Spanish national team, Alcacer failed to make an impact wearing the Camp Nou uniform and generally fell down in the pecking order, to the point that he was barely considered an alternative off the bench.
That’s not his fault, though. After all, Alcacer had to compete with names such as Luis Suarez, Neymar, Arda Turan, Philippe Coutinho and, most recently, Ousmane Dembele and Malcom for playing time.
He is still a talented player, though. His track record at Barcelona was not very good, but when he's given enough minutes, he can produce. And he has a nice amount of goals to his name that can make fans excited.
However, who could suggest that him moving to Dortmund would be the best alternative for his development? After all, he is still only 24 years old and has a lot of things to learn, especially considering he has barely played during the past two seasons. He will have a clear path to become a regular starter for Dortmund since the only other striker on the current squad is Alexander Isak, but he is going to a physical environment, one where he is not exactly expected to thrive.
By all accounts, Barca should have been smarter and send him to a smaller side in LaLiga, something like Huesca, Rayo Vallecano, Levante or Leganes. All teams that could have used his presence to boost the attacking depth.
Dortmund should also receive a fair share of criticism for this move. The Spaniard could eventually become a hit playing for Dortmund, but let’s be honest for a second. Alcacer will need to fill the shoes of Aubameyang, who left the club as an idol, and Batshuayi, who registered seven goals in only 10 Bundesliga appearances for BVB. It’s quite hard to imagine Alcacer scoring at that kind of ratio, especially since he needs to adjust to the Bundesliga.
Let’s also remember this will be Alcacer’s first experience playing overseas. That’s always hard, especially since Spanish players have a history of not performing very well abroad, minus a few exceptions. Could he overcome all those signs against him, and be the kind of striker Dortmund need to keep themselves afloat on the title race with the likes of Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 and RB Leipzig?
Fans surely hope so, but right now, the jury is not convinced of what he can do. And the track record in recent years does not help him either.