In Focus: Southampton boosted as Barcelona put target Paco Alcacer up for sale

According to reports in The Sun, Barcelona are willing to listen to offers for Southampton target Paco Alcacer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, The Sun says that Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino is desperate to strengthen his attacking options during the January transfer window with the south coast outfit failing to score in eight of their last nine home matches in all competitions.

The Sun says that the La Liga giants are ready to sell the out-of-favour attacker despite spending £30m to sign him from Valencia little over a year ago, as he has struggled to make an impact at the Camp Nou.

The report adds that Southampton would favour a loan deal with an option to buy to make sure that he was a success in the Premier League first.

How has Alcacer done this season?

The Spain international would have hoped that Neymar’s departure and then an injury to new boy Ousmane Dembele would have boosted his chances of getting a regular run in the Barcelona first team under Ernesto Valverde this term, but it hasn’t proved to be the case.

The 24-year-old has featured for just 115 minutes in La Liga, providing one assist, with Andres Iniesta even sometimes preferred in attack.

Why would Southampton want him?

While things perhaps haven’t gone for him at the Camp Nou, Alcacer showed his goalscoring abilities at Valencia previously and he netted 13 goals in 34 La Liga appearances in his final season with the club, in which they struggled and could only secure a 12th-placed finish.

In addition, the 24-year-old has impressed for Spain too and has scored six goals in the 13 caps he has to his name so far.

With five goals in seven Premier League matches this term and having failed to score in 10 of their last 15 top flight games stretching back to last season, it is clear to see that Saints are missing something in the final third.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, Saints certainly showed that they aren’t afraid to buy in January if they think they can get a deal having brought in Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini during the previous two winter windows, and another striker could be arriving at St Mary’s in the New Year in the form of Alcacer.