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BREAKING NEWS—Paco Alcacer leaves for Sharjah FC

And there it is.

I know Spanish football clubs have been duped by folks dressing as sheikhs before (here’s looking at you, Getafe Abu Dhabi) but this does seem to be real. Sharjah FC, who play in the United Arab Emirates League, have signed Paco Alcácer from Villarreal, and both clubs have confirmed it.

I haven’t seen anything definitive about price but apparently it is a loan with a purchase option. It does save us his salary and opens up a roster spot.

He was a controversial signing, our record signing at €23m (about half of his preceived market value at the time), and unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Over three years Paco played 3275 league minutes, with 40 starts, and scored 11 goals. He was, however, an important part of our Europa League championship, with 6 goals in 520 minutes.

Hard to know what exactly went wrong here. After a reasonably promising start he caught COVID in November 2019, and he had six absences attributed to hamstring problems or other muscle injuries. But it always seemed there was something more than that.

It’s really odd that for someone who we were told turned down moves to other La Liga clubs (like Celta) and wanted to stay close to his Valencian Community roots, that he’s gone to the Middle East. I know the money is good, but I wonder if he felt it necessary to get out of Spain to get a new start. He had been willing to go to a Bundesliga club, so maybe that’s part of it.

At any rate, it is done. I hope, regardless of how you may feel about his time here, you join me in wishing him all the best in his new adventure. He is still only 28, so if he can get himself put back together both mentally and physically, there’s still a good career ahead of him. I will always remember his penalty against De Gea, and the fact his last match with us on the pitch was our first victory over Barcelona in decades.

Good luck, Paco.