TOP 5 Barca: Paco to Dortmund, Dembele's first year, Sergi Samper and more!

Paco Alcacer's win-win loan to Dortmund

With Borussia Dortmund paying two million euros and the player's salary to loan Paco Alcacer for the season, all three parties involved should feel that this transaction is a win-win situation. Dortmund can purchase the Spanish forward next summer, and Barcelona will have the opportunity to refuse the option. If he can regain most of the goal-scoring form that he had Valencia, Alcacer will fit nicely on a Dortmund squad desperate for a center-forward. At the moment he will be competing with an out-of-position Marco Reus, Maximilian Philipp and teenager Alexander Isak for minutes in the middle.

Paulinho excelling back in China

Unlike his legacy at Tottenham, Paulinho's time at Barcelona should be fondly remembered and most Cules will be rooting for the player to have continued success throughout the rest of his career. He has gone back to Asia and hasn't skipped a beat, banging in goals and playing like the MVP of the league since his return. He obviously came at a heavy price for Guangzhou Evergrande, but his performances so far have merited his price tag.

Dembele's first year at Barca

The mercurial winger certainly had his ups and downs in his first year at the Camp Nou. From forcing his way out of Dortmund to his injuries and inconsistencies on the pitch, Ousmane Dembele has had to do a lot of growing up. Now in his second season at the club, he is already making an impression with goals in the Spanish Super Cup and the less than stellar affair against Real Valladolid.

For more on the young Frenchman, Dan and @Barsalev discussed his value to Barcelona on the latest edition of the The Barcelona Podcast:

Barcelona expands to Mexico

It's puzzling to find out that FC Barcelona have 45 academies in different continents, and thirteen between the United States and Canada. However, they are just now launching their first academy in Mexico, birthplace of Rafael Marquez and the dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan. Mexico is a hotbed of talented Spanish-speaking youngsters, but Barcelona has stated that the goal is not yet to be bringing players to the academy in hopes of moving them right away to the first team. It feels a bit overdue, but getting a Barca Academy in Mexico is a good sign for the future.

Sergi Samper gets a jersey number

Whether it's because Ernesto Valverde actually values the player or the plan is to move the injured midfielder on in January, Sergi Samper will be with Barcelona's first team for the next few months, taking the No. 16. After failed loans to Granada and Las Palmas, the midfielder has not even been healthy long enough to know if he has a place in La Liga. As has been his entire career with Barcelona's first team, he has little time and an uphill battle to impress.