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Bacca departure could make way for Bakambu return

Unai Emery is looking to adjust his striker options for next season.

Villarreal v Ponferradina - Round 32 of Copa del Rey Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Javi Mata, writing for AS, has spoken. Villarreal are ‘one step away’ from terminating the contract of Carlos Bacca in the hopes of making way for Cedric Bakambu to return to the Estadio la Ceramica. Bakagol, of course, left Villarreal in January of 2018 in a €40 million transfer to Beijing Guoan in China. The club had an option to end his contract after this season and appears to be ready to use it.

Carlos Bacca is currently one of the highest earners at the club, and frankly as much as we appreciate him and his contribution to our Europa League campaign, that contract no longer reflects the minutes he provides the side. Bakambu is about four and a half years younger than Bacca, though he may not be available until January.

Under the current terms of Bakambu’s contract, he will play in China until January of this year. From what I can gather (due to my very limited knowledge of the Chinese Super League) when our season is just getting ready to start training they will be not quite halfway through their league season. Villarreal would obviously prefer to have him when the new season starts, but may have to wait.

It’s easy to see why Guoan want him to stay, as he was the leading scorer in the competition last season and made the league semi-finals. He has contributed to over 50 goals for them in the last three seasons.

If we end up having to wait until January, the most likely way I see this playing out is Fer Nino staying around until then, and then possibly going on loan for the rest of the year. Mata did include in his article with AS that if the Bakambu deal looked unlikely, the club would go out and find a striker to include with Paco and Gerard to prepare for a Champions League bid. That is telling to me in multiple ways. First, leaving Fer’s name out of it is probably a commentary on the club seeing him as a loanee for this next year, and second Paco’s name being included means that talk of any swap deals or the striker moving on were probably premature.

It’d be great to have Bakambu back! Now let’s see if the club can make it happen.