Is Paco Alcacer really better than Munir El Haddadi for Barcelona?

The Valencia striker has completed his €30 million switch to Camp Nou as the Blaugrana forward moves the other way. But was it really worth it?

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Barcelona finally have their fourth forward. Coach Luis Enrique has been searching for a player to provide back-up to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar ever since last winter and the Blaugrana boss has his new striker at last. But is Paco Alcacer really better than the man he will replace at Camp Nou, Munir El Haddadi?

Transfer targets came and went as Barca pursued the likes of Nolito, Luciano Vietto and Kevin Gameiro, all of those ultimately opting for guaranteed first-team football, and Luis Enrique admitted the Catalan club may have to stick with what they had.

And by the beginning of the current campaign, many supporters seemed happy enough with that: Arda Turan was back on form in the Spanish Supercopa series against Sevilla, while Munir was on target at the Sanchez Pizjuan, having finished as the club's top scorer in pre-season.

But Barca persisted with a new name and even though Valencia president Lay Hoon Chan said "we don't want to sell Paco Alcacer", it was not the same as saying "we are not going to sell Paco Alcacer" - and in the end the player was indeed sold for €30 million in a deal that was announced on Tuesday (the player's 23rd birthday).

Meanwhile, Munir moves in the other direction on loan with an option to buy at the end of the season for €12m. And it would be very surprising if Valencia did not make the transfer permanent next summer.

Munir is 21 on Thursday, making him almost exactly two years younger than the man who will replace him at Camp Nou. He is also very familiar with Barca's playing style, having come through the youth system at La Masia, and would not need time to adapt - unlike Alcacer.

And while it is true that Luis Enrique did not appear to fully trust the striker last season, he has come on leaps and bounds over the summer and in any case, his stats from 2015-16 are similar to those of Alcacer.


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The Spain striker scored 15 in his 46 appearances last season, starting 31 matches and playing 3,087 minutes in total. Munir, meanwhile, netted eight times in his 26 matches, of which only 16 were starts, and featured for a combined 1,634 minutes.

Statistical comparisons are never that simple, of course, and Alcacer was turning out for a struggling side for the most part in 2015-16, so it remains to be seen whether he can improve on those numbers at his new club - although he will probably have to bide his time on the bench.

Alcacer is without doubt a talented player who already represents his country, but behind him in the Under-21 team is Munir, a player from La Masia who knows Barca well and who was already at the club. So time will tell whether Barca made the right call here, but they could easily have placed faith in their own guy - because he may just go on to be the better player of the two.