Paco Alcacer has been left out of Barcelona’s upcoming match against Sporting CP. The forward started the first league game and made one substitute appearance, but hasn’t played since.
Arda Turan and Thomas Vermaelen are also not in the squad, but that was perhaps to be expected.
Alcacer’s absences suggest Ernesto Valverde considers him a fringe player, and it may have to do with the fact Lionel Messi is playing through the middle.
That’s where Paco likes to play, and back when Luis Suarez was the center-forward, Paco’s spot was obvious: as Suarez’s like-for-like replacement.
Now, Suarez is shifted uncomfortably on the left, and perhaps Valverde prefers to put in a more natural winger to sub for Suarez, rather than another center-forward shifted onto the wing.
To be fair, Alcacer has been playing on the left this season, and he hasn’t been bad. But it’s clear Valverde considers that option more of a last resort.
This could indicate Alcacer is a candidate for a January exit.