Villarreal reinforced their strike corps by obtaining Adrián López on loan—again—from Porto. He is familiar with Marcelino’s Villarreal, anyway, having played last year for us on loan. We paid Porto €1m for his services last season, so presumably are paying half of that this time. This is a straight loan—no purchase option.
He scored 5 goals for us in 23 appearances last season, with the memorable one being against Liverpool at El Madrigal, as well as a goal at the Mestalla.
Word is we are still interested in Felipe Caicedo, who is more of a physical straight-ahead striker. Espanyol are keen to move him because his salary is quite large for them, and they would like to get Sergio Garcia back, but Villarreal are only interested in a deal with a purchase option, not a deal with a compulsory purchase. So negotiations continue.
Villarreal have not typically tried to end loans early, but we must be looking to return Santos Borré to Atleti. Cedric Bakambu returns from the African Cup of Nations in mid-February, so we’d have to expect Bakambu and Sansone to be our regular pair, with contributions from Adrián and perhaps Caicedo—and Roberto Soldado returning in March and working his way back into form.
So, not much room for Alexandre Pato, it would appear. There were clubs from places like China interested in him before, but would we be willing to terminate the Pato experiment so soon, and would the Duck be willing to give up on Europe for now? Regardless of how all this plays out, it’s clear the front office is as frustrated as the fans are with our lack of scoring.