Barcelona are reportedly unwilling to shell out the €30 million asking price that La Liga club have slapped on Junior Firpo.
According to a report by Spanish publication Sport, Barcelona are only prepared to fork out €20 million to secure the services of a left-back this summer. The Blaugrana’s priority target for the position, Junior Firpo, is valued at €30 million by fellow La Liga club Real Betis.
Junior Firpo has made giant strides since breaking into the Real Betis first-team setup and in just a year’s time, he has become one of the key figures at Estadio Benito Villamarin. In what was his first full season with Los Verdiblancos, the 22-year-old turned out 29 times before being a part of the triumphant Spanish side at the Under-21 European Championships this summer.
His performances have caught the eye of a number of top clubs across Europe. But, it is Barcelona who have been constantly linked with the Real Betis star over the last one month or so, and for good reason.
The La Liga champions have one of the strongest sides with some of the best players in the continent. When it comes the left-back slot, while Jordi Alba has been a standout player for several years, Barcelona learned the hard way last season that even the Spaniard needs a backup.
Alba had spells when he lost form drastically, meaning Barcelona were left short changed in his position. And, when the experienced full-back was to be rested, they had to rely on the likes of Juan Miranda and Thomas Vermaelen. While Vermaelen has left the club, Miranda left Ernesto Valverde unimpressed last term.
With Marc Cucurella being sold to Getafe, signing a left-back who can not just provide competition to Alba but also become his long-term successor, in time, is crucial. To that end, the interest in Junior Firpo makes sense, although their latest reported offer falls short of Real Betis’ valuation of the player.
The La Liga club have slapped a €30 million price tag on Firpo as they aim to cash in on the interest the 22-year-old is generating. Barcelona though, are not willing to spend more than €20 million on their left-back signing this summer, having already spent heavy sums to bring in Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann.
While the La Liga champions do rate Firpo quite highly, if Betis are adamant on their €30 million asking price, they might have to turn their attention elsewhere. The Catalans have Augsburg left-back Philipp Max in their sights as well, and if Firpo was to become a backup option, it is likely that the operation for Max gains ground.
It now remains to be seen if Real Betis remain adamant on their valuation of Junior Firpo. And if so, it will be interesting to see what course Barcelona take to solve their left-back issues this summer.