Premier League transfer news: West Ham eye La Liga striker

Villarreal striker Paco Alcacer

West Ham are keeping tabs on Villarreal forward Paco Alcacer ahead of the summer transfer window, as reported by Fichajes.

What is the latest transfer news involving Alcacer?

David Moyes has reportedly been impressed by Alcacer’s performances in Spain and in the Europa League this term, and is keen to bring the striker to east London.

Alcacer is not the first La Liga striker that Moyes has shown interest in either. West Ham have also been linked with Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri in recent months.

How much is Alcacer worth and when does his contract expire?

It is understood that Villarreal will be willing to listen to offers starting at €25m (£21.6m), which is a touch more than his Transfermarkt valuation (£19.8m).

Alcacer only joined the Spanish side last year, and his contract at the club runs until 2025, suggesting that Villarreal are unlikely to be in a hurry to sell him.

What are Alcacer’s stats this season?

It has been a campaign of two halves for Alcacer in 2020/21. He started the season in red-hot form, managing seven goal involvements in his first nine league matches.

However, injuries scuppered his progress at the back end of 2020, and he has been unable to rediscover his goalscoring touch since returning. He has just one La Liga goal contribution to his name in 2021, and is yet to score since the turn of the year.

His average game rating from WhoScored has been 6.6, a significantly lower score than Michail Antonio (7.12) has received for West Ham.

Antonio also holds the edge over Alcacer when it comes to key passes (21 to 12) and successful dribbles (31 to 6). 

What has been said about Alcacer?

Last year, Total Football Analysis outlined Alcacer’s key attributes.

They said: “Generally speaking, Paco can best be described as a more of a traditional no.9, a striker who’s ready to pounce on the ball inside the box and bring quality finishing to the table at the same time.

“His excellent movement and predatory instincts enable him to consistently overperform his expected goal values but also mean that he’s often at the right place at the right time to slot one home.

“Apart from that, he is extremely well suited for fast, direct and especially transitional systems that favour a heads-on approach. Even though he is quite capable on the ball and can link up with his teammates quite well – as we’ll see further down this tactical analysis scout report – he is still best utilised inside the area and not in deeper positions.

“Due to his excellent positioning, Paco can also be a constant threat in set-pieces and can use his pace to always threaten in counter-attacks. Defensively, he is quite aggressive and Villarreal can benefit from his tendency to press high and try and disrupt the opposition’s build-up.”

Is Moyes set to make a rare blunder in the transfer market?

Since returning to West Ham in December 2019, Moyes has been exceptional in picking out players to bring over to the London Stadium.

Over the past 15 months, the Hammers have added Czech pair Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal to their ranks. Soucek has settled in immediately, registering nine goals this season, whilst Coufal has provided five assists from right-back.

Arguably Moyes’ finest signing has been Jesse Lingard, who has been in stunning form over the last two months after joining on loan from Manchester United. The 28-year-old has scored eight goals in his first nine matches for the Irons.

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However, bringing in Alcacer this summer could be a rare mistake on Moyes’ part. The Spanish striker has struggled in front of goal this year, and has not kicked on as much as Villarreal would have liked after an explosive start. His return of nine league goals in 33 top-flight appearances this season is evidence of this.

Moyes requires an attacker who can be an adequate back-up option for Antonio, and even challenge the forward for his starting berth. Alcacer’s unspectacular goalscoring numbers during his time at Villarreal suggests that he is not the right player for this role.

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