Reports in Spain earlier this week claimed that West Ham United are weighing up a summer swoop for Villarreal striker Paco Alcacer, who could be the answer to David Moyes’ search if David Sullivan can seal a deal.
It is suggested that Alcacer has earned a place on the Hammers’ radar after his efforts in La Liga and the Europa League caught the attention of the London Stadium hierarchy, as Moyes lines up reinforcements for a potential season featuring European action next term.
Moyes is well-aware of the need for depth at the centre-forward position after passing on the chance to sign a replacement for Sebastien Haller in January and he intends to correct that decision in the next transfer window.
West Ham are currently without a recognised senior striker after losing Michail Antonio for potentially the rest of the season with a third hamstring injury of the campaign, after scans estimated a four-to-six-week lay-off for the 31-year-old.
Villarreal boss Unai Emery would be loath to lose Alcacer, who is under contract through to the summer of 2025 to further complicate West Ham’s advances. As such, the Irons would be expected to pay as much as €25m (£21.5m) for the 19-cap Spain international.
West Ham have shown some resistance to paying El Submarino Amarillo their alleged asking price, but feel Alcacer’s experience and track record could see him emerge a better option than Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri who was the subject of a rejected £32m bid in January.
Alcacer is also entering his prime at 27 and knows what it takes to succeed outside of Spain, after scoring 26 goals in 47 games with Borussia Dortmund before leaving the Bundesliga outfit following the arrival of Erling Haaland.
The Villarreal striker also has aspirations of regaining his place in the Spanish national squad after two years outside of Luis Enrique’s plans, and Alcacer is aware that stand-out displays away from the domestic scene represent a strong opportunity to work his way back.
Moyes should be urging Sullivan to now seal a deal with the Estadio de la Ceramica natives to offer Alcacer a chance to show Enrique what he is all about in the Premier League, as the £43,000-per-week forward could prove to be the striker that West Ham are after.
While not a regular starter in games under Emery and being sidelined for nine fixtures due to Achilles and muscle injuries earlier in the term, Alcacer boasts 10 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions this season.
Alcacer was expected to earn his long-awaited recall to the Spain squad in November after scoring nine times in 11 games, as part of a promising partnership with Gerard Moreno that led Emery to laud the forward:
“Paco is a great player for Villarreal. We are very happy with the way he is playing and the goals and assists he is providing,” the ex-Arsenal boss said, via quotes by DPA International.
His hunger to achieve on the pitch is also met off it, with Alcacer’s former Valencia youth coach Vicente Mir once claiming “he’s no lay-about” and praising the striker for always being one of the first to arrive for training and maintaining that attitude after joining Barcelona.
Moyes is a manager who lauds hard-working players and it was down to that reason that the Scottish coach consistently favoured Antonio over Haller, before allowing the Ivory Coast international to join AFC Ajax in January.
Now, Moyes can look to match Antonio with another driven individual in Alcacer, if Sullivan puts any questions over the fee needed to the side and seals a deal with Villarreal.