Barcelona Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Paco Alcacer and Andreas Christensen

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2016

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 15:  Paco Alcacer of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Deportivo de La Coruna at Camp Nou stadium on October 15, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez has admitted it was a struggle to sign a striker in the summer because of the superb attacking quality already in the Blaugrana squad.

The Catalan giants eventually snapped up Paco Alcacer from Valencia for €30 million (£25.5 million) but reportedly missed out on a number of other targets, including Kevin Gameiro, Angel Correa, Luciano Vietto and Carlos Bacca. 

The new recruit was always likely to have to play back-up to Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi, and Fernandez conceded that Alcacer will have to be patient before getting his chance, per BarcaTV (via Marca):

It was a difficult, complicated choice because the player coming in wasn't going to have many opportunities.

You never know what will happen, but he plays in the same position as the best in the world.

Suarez is the ideal mentor for Alcacer, who will have to wait for his chance. Luis Enrique has already told him that he must remain calm, otherwise he won't be able to make the most of when he does play.

Alcacer, 23, posted a modest return of 13 goals from 34 appearances in La Liga for Los Che last season, and he has yet to get off the mark for Barca, per WhoScored.com.

He has only been given 172 minutes of league action since his move to the Camp Nou—making one start in September's shock home defeat to Alaves—and is enduring a tough run of form in front of goal, per Spanish football writer Sergi Dominguez:

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

Alcacer not scoring and missing sitters. But his movement to get to those chances is quite overlooked. Goals will come.

It is a problematic situation for the Spaniard as he has few opportunities to play himself into form, and as Fernandez noted, he is not likely to get them any time soon.

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However, there is likely to come a time during a long season when Suarez is injured, suspended or needs to be rested, and Alcacer will then have to prove he was worth buying.

Suarez, Neymar and Messi went through a late-season slump last term that almost cost Barca the Liga title, and the Times' Gabriele Marcotti noted at the time just how much football they had played in the preceding year:

Gabriele Marcotti @Marcotti

Neymar-Suarez-Messi played 16058 mins in past 12 months Bayern's front 3? 13593 City's? 11274 Real Madrid's? 10249 Atletico's? 9843

Even the best players suffer from fatigue, hence why Barca bothered to add attacking cover in the summer, and the time will come when Alcacer is needed. 

Meanwhile, Borussia Monchengladbach's star loanee Andreas Christensen is likely to return to Chelsea at the end of the season rather than move to Barcelona, according to the Bundesliga club's sporting director, Max Eberl.

Moenchengladbach, Germany 28.09.2016, UEFA Champions League - 2016/17 Season, Group C - Matchday 2, Borussia Moenchengladbach - FC Barcelona, 1:2,  Andreas Christensen (Moenchengladbach)  (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Per Alan Nixon in the Sun, the Danish centre-back recently emerged as a £20 million target for Barca as the Catalan giants view the 20-year-old as an ideal long-term partner and replacement for Gerard Pique.

He has been excellent during his loan spell at Gladbach—which began in July 2015 and ends in the summer of 2017—and Eberl revealed Christensen now wants to fight for a place in the Chelsea side and is not expected to be sold, per Anthony Chapman in the Sun:

He’s a top player. Chelsea are taking care of those players they’ve loaned out very well.

Andreas has said: "If I can start matches for Chelsea, I will go back." 

He’ll be a world-class player. Chelsea are not going to sell such a player to Barcelona or Bayern. So, another way is still possible.

Barca need added depth in their back line as the likes of Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu are both now 32 and nearing the end of their careers.

A young prospect like Christensen would be ideal to join up with Pique and 22-year-old summer signing Samuel Umtiti, but it does seem unlikely a club as big as Chelsea would let such a talent go.

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