Paco Alcacer is the established first choice striker at the Mestalla, and has recently broken into the Spain set-up.
It seems the only way is up for a 21-year-old with the world at his feet. But the arrival of Alvaro Negredo and Rodrigo could either help or hinder his fledgling career.
Alcacer has been rather lucky in his ascension the top in Spain. At club level, Valencia had just the loss of prolific front man Roberto Soldado, who made a £26 million switch to Tottenham.
With only Jonas as competition, the then-20-year-old was given a chance to show what he could bring to the first team. With the addition the Europa League (Valencia reached the semi-finals), the young forward was given a number of opportunities to show what he could do, and he did not disappoint. He finished the club’s top scorer with 14 goals in 37 appearances.
Alcacer has always been held in high regard by those at Valencia Mestalla, and would no doubt have been given a chance in the first team at some stage. But his accelerated progression into the first team would not have occurred without the departure of other senior strikers at the club.
Fast forward 12 months, with Jonas gone, Alcacer has cemented his position as Valencia’s de facto first-choice striker in Valencia's early matches this season. He has already bagged two goals in La Liga this season, finding the back of the net most recently against Espanyol.
After breaking into the first team, the next task for the 20-year-old would be to force himself into the international setup. Again his timing was fortuitous. In response to Spain’s dire World Cup campaign, Vicente del Bosque expressed the need for revolution.
Into the national team came the likes of Marc Bartra, Isco, and, of course Alcacer, who had only made a handful of youth appearances.
Given his full debut against Macedonia, he repaid his manager’s faith by bagging the opening goal. Repeat performances will no doubt see him become a regular fixture in the national side.
Of course, there is nothing left to chance with regards to his finishing. Alcacer is a poacher, who knows where the goal is and is more than capable of finding it from anywhere in the 18-yard box. And at 21, he is more than likely to continue developing at a rapid rate.
Valencia are looking to tie the striker down to a long-term contract, which should scare away any potential suitors. With the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal linked with the Spain international, it is important for both the club and Alcacer’s development that he remains at the Mestalla, and plays as often as he can.
However that could be hampered by the addition of Alvaro Negredo and Rodrigo Moreno this season, who bring added competition for the 20-year-old. Given the hefty price tag of the prior, Negredo is likely to get playtime once he returns from injury.
Of course, there is always the chance the two could form a deadly partnership, and Negredo’s presence could enhance the performance of Alcacer, and transform him into the world class striker he seems destined to become.
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