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Villarreal hoping to overhaul attacking lineup amid Edinson Cavani links

There are a few issues up front which still need sorting.

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Arguably the most chaotic part of the Villarreal squad to address this window is the forward situation, with a number of signings and sales likely taking place before the end of the window.

It looks like a case of having to sell before buying for Villarreal, and this seems to be the main delay in getting signings through the door, with the three arrivals so far all joining on free transfers.

Villarreal were already fairly stacked on the wings and up front going into next season in terms of numbers, but with Unai Emery seemingly not trusting some of his depth, he will seek to add more quality and experience to the attack and has already secured Levante legend Jose Luis Morales.

Last season Villarreal’s options at centre-forward were:

  • Gerard Moreno
  • Paco Alcacer
  • Boulaye Dia
  • Fer Nino (loaned out)
  • Giovani Lo Celso/Yeremy Pino/Arnaut Danjuma (false 9)

Plus wing options of:

  • Yeremy Pino
  • Arnaut Danjuma
  • Samuel Chukwueze
  • Moi Gomez
  • Manu Trigueros (plays wide as well as centrally)
  • Gerard Moreno

Boulaye Dia looks to be on his way out, with Salernitana reportedly agreeing a loan-to-buy deal for the Senegal forward, and Paco Alcacer’s future is an ongoing issue for the club.

PSV v Villarreal CF - Pre Season Friendly
Dia struggled to make his mark
Photo by Broer van den Boom/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Spanish striker is clearly not in Unai Emery’s plans, and only managed 1 goal in 10 La Liga starts last season.

One of the highest earners at the club, Alcacer has reportedly turned down a move away, with Celta Vigo and Valencia linked, and Villarreal need him off the wage bill in order to be able to register new signings.

False nines were often deployed when Gerard Moreno was out injured, with Danjuma often leading the line, but the Dutch winger was less effective in this role compared to when he would start on the left or as part of a front two.

Out of this group of strikers, Fer Nino could be loaned out again, with Dia and Alcacer ideally departing. This means that reinforcements through the middle are necessary, and the club reportedly has two targets in mind.

Edinson Cavani and Umar Sadiq are the two names most heavily linked with a move to Villarreal this summer, with Cavani a free agent after leaving Manchester United, and Sadiq coming off the back of a strongly successful season with Almeria.

Both deals are dependent on outgoings, and would provide a nice mixture of options up front to add more goals to the side.

Although Cavani is now 35, he still showed his quality at Manchester United when fit, and is keen on a move to La Liga despite offers from Borussia Dortmund and Boca Juniors.

A direct replacement for Alcacer’s ‘fox in the box’ style which relies on intelligent movement, Cavani would arrive as one of Villarreal’s highest profile signings in recent years, as one of Europe’s highest scoring forwards over the last decade.

The Uruguayan previously worked under Unai Emery at PSG, where he had one of the best goalscoring spells in his career, finding the back of the net 89 times in 98 games under Emery’s tutelage.

Sadiq meanwhile, scored 19 goals in 38 appearances last season as Almeria were promoted back to the top flight, but has been earmarked more as a replacement for Arnaut Danjuma, should he depart this summer.

The 25-year-old was reportedly close to a move to West Ham United earlier in the window but looks set to stay for another season as personal terms could not be agreed with the Premier League side.

A nailed-on starter on the left-wing who can also play through the middle, any deal for Sadiq would surely only materialise if the Dutchman does leave.

Moi Gomez recently completed a permanent move to Osasuna, and youngster Alex Baena looks set to take his spot in the first team.

Gomez, who would provide cover on the left wing or in midfield, scored 2 goals in 29 league matches last season, and the feeling is that Baena would offer better output now and in the long term.

Uruguay v Panama - International Friendly
Cavani could yet be snapped up
Photo by Ernesto Ryan/Getty Images

Villarreal’s centre forward options heading to the season, should the deals for Dia and Alcacer go through, therefore stands at:

  • Gerard Moreno
  • Jose Luis Morales
  • Fer Nino
  • (Arnaut Danjuma)

With wide options of:

  • Arnaut Danjuma
  • Yeremy Pino
  • Samuel Chukwueze
  • Alex Baena
  • Manu Trigueros
  • Gerard Moreno

At least one forward coming in is a necessity, and should Cavani arrive, Gerard Moreno could spend more time on the wings.

A front three of Danjuma, Cavani and Gerard is a frightening prospect on paper, and should have enough pace, technical quality and goalscoring experience to push for a top four spot.