Leeds United lead race for Barcelona’s Junior Firpo

Leeds United are the frontrunners to sign Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo during this summer transfer window.

Barcelona's Junior Firpo

Junior Firpo, 24, joined Barcelona for an initial €18 million from Real Betis in the summer of 2019. He failed to dislodge Jordi Alba from the starting XI under Ronald Koeman last season and managed only seven LaLiga outings. In two seasons with the Catalan giants, the defender has made 41 appearances for the first team.

The former Spain under-21 international wants to leave Camp Nou this summer as he is not part of Koeman’s 2021/22 season plans. Barcelona have decided to cash in on the player, who has caught the eye of many clubs, including AC Milan.

But it is Leeds United that are currently negotiating with the LaLiga club for the transfer of Firpo. It is believed that the Whites will be able to sign the defender for a fee of €15, as Barcelona look to trim their wage bill and bring in money this summer to help fund new signings.

Meanwhile, Amari Miller has become Leeds United’ first summer signing, with the teenage winger joining the Yorkshire giants from Championship side Birmingham City on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee. However, Miller will go straight into Mark Jackson-managed Leeds’ U23 side, who will feature in Premier League 2 Division 1 in the upcoming campaign after they sealed promotion last term.

Leeds United need a bigger squad next season

The Whites enjoyed an excellent return to the top-flight last season, finishing an impressive ninth on the table. Marcelo Bielsa has done a great job since arriving at Elland Road, especially with the limited resources he’s had at his disposal.

The veteran Argentinean has not only signed players but also vastly improved his existing squad and taken them to another level in the last couple of years. He has also promoted youth and eased them in the first-team, with players like Ian Poveda, Tyler Roberts and Jamie Shackleton getting opportunities to showcase their talent in the Premier League this past season.

However, if Leeds are to challenge for a top-six finish as well as domestic trophies, Bielsa must beef up his squad during the transfer window. Bielsa must prioritise reinforcing his defence, which leaked 54 goals in 38 games last time out.

Injuries to key Leeds defenders such as Diego Llorente, Robin Koch and Liam Cooper forced Bielsa to chop and change his system and players constantly. In full-back positions, Ezgjan Alioski and Stuart Dallas were regular features in the starting XI. However, the Leeds tactician is certainly aware of the need to bring in a quality full-back to avoid his current options from getting burnt out next term.

Junior Firpo could be a smart signing for the Whites

In that regard, thus, Leeds are doing a smart job by signing Junior Firpo. The 24-year-old showed his versatility by playing at left-back, right-back and in central defence in the limited opportunities, he got under Ronald Koeman at Barcelona in the 2020/21 campaign. Truly, Firpo’s versatility could be of great help for Bielsa and Leeds.  

The former Real Betis man would not only add quality to the Whites’ squad but also provide additional cover to the full-back positions in Bielsa’s squad. The Argentinean manager gets the best out of his players and Firpo is certainly a big talent, who needs a run of games in his position to get back his lost mojo.

All in all, Leeds completing a move for Firpo would definitely hand a massive boost to their long-term plans moving forward under Bielsa.

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