Inter Milan are reportedly eyeing a swoop for left-back Junior Firpo, who has been put up for sale by Barcelona ahead of the winter transfer window.
According to a report from Italian publication Calciomercato, Serie A heavyweights Inter Milan are planning to revisit their interest in Barcelona defender Junior Firpo in January, with the Catalans open to a sale.
Having come through the ranks at Real Betis, the 24-year-old Firpo made quite the wave in the 2018/19 campaign, which saw him score three and assist five in 29 appearances in all competitions for Los Verdiblancos. This prompted Barcelona to splash the cash on him in the subsequent summer, as the club eyed a long-term replacement for Jordi Alba.
However, things have hardly gone according to plans for Firpo or Barcelona. The Dominican Republic-born Spanish defender has struggled to carve out a place in the starting XI at Camp Nou, with the Blaugrana continuing to be over-reliant on the abilities of their veteran defender Alba.
During his time at the club, Firpo has made just 25 appearances for Barcelona, scoring one and assisting two goals. The 24-year-old hasn’t started a single game in any competition for the Catalans this season, while his two appearances have come from the bench in the UEFA Champions League, totalling up to just 29 minutes of action.
It is quite evident that the left-back isn’t favoured by new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman. And with the club in a difficult position financially, they have put the 24-year-old up for sale ahead of the January transfer window, along with four more stars in Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Carles Alena and Martin Braithwaite.
It is said that Barcelona want to rake some cash in as Koeman looks to fund moves for top attacking target Memphis Depay and Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in January. And Firpo’s potential availability has put Inter Milan on high-alert, as they eye another shot at signing the left-back.
The Nerazzurri had been interested in snapping up the former Real Betis man’s services in the summer transfer window gone by. And while a move did not materialise back then, Inter are hopeful that a deal can be struck this time around as Barcelona might be willing to listen to lower offers owing to their urgent need of cash.
At the same time, it is also claimed that Firpo favours a move to Inter Milan, which could speed up things in terms of the transfer going through.
The Serie A title hopefuls already have the likes of Ashley Young, Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivan Perisic who can play the left wing-back role, while both Matteo Darmian and Achraf Hakimi are more than capable of filling in that spot as well. However, both Kolarov and Young are well into their thirties and will need replacing soon enough, with Firpo being a viable option.
But, letting Firpo depart might leave Barcelona without any cover for Alba in the left-back position. So, it will be interesting to see how the Catalans go about their business in the January transfer window.