Barcelona are ready to offload Junior Firpo in the summer. The Hard Tackle takes a look at three Premier League clubs that would benefit by signing him.
According to a report from Spanish publication Sport, La Liga champions Barcelona are preparing to offload left-back Junior Firpo only a year after signing him as they look to generate revenue to fund a move for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.
Firpo arrived at Barcelona from fellow La Liga outfit Real Betis in a €18 million (£16 million) deal last summer. However, the 23-year-old hasn’t been able to carve out a place for himself at Camp Nou, with Jordi Alba still preferred at the left-back slot, while Nelson Semedo has also been used ahead of him at times.
As a result, Firpo has made only 17 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans, contributing with a solitary goal and assist apiece. With Barcelona intent on landing Lautaro Martinez, the Blaugrana are now actively looking to offload Firpo to generate funds to sign the Argentine international.
The report mentions that the La Liga champions are looking for a modest transfer fee of €20 million (£18 million). Despite having been unable to nail down a starting berth at Barcelona, Firpo remains a talented left-back. The Spain U-21 international had shone bright for Real Betis last season, producing a return of 3 goals and 5 assists in 29 matches.
At €20 million, given his age and room for development, Firpo could prove to be a potential bargain for clubs. To that end, we at The Hard Tackle take a look at three Premier League outfits that should look to swoop in for the 23-year-old in the summer.
Chelsea’s search for a new left-back are well-documented. Manager Frank Lampard hasn’t been entirely convinced with the options at his disposal currently. Emerson Palmieri started the 2019-20 season as the first-choice left-back but failed to make the spot his own. Marcos Alonso did impress prior to footballing action getting suspended, but remains a defensive liability.
Hence, Lampard has often opted to use captain Cesar Azpilicueta on the left-side of his defence. Reports have claimed that either of Alonso or Emerson will be offloaded this summer, with the latter generating interest from Juventus. And should that come to be, the Blues will be left short-handed in the left-back department.
And this is where Firpo comes into the picture. The 23-year-old had impressed in both attacking and defensive aspects of his game during his time at Real Betis. Given the €20 million valuation, he would be a much cheaper alternative for the West Londoners in comparison to other touted targets such as Ben Chilwell and Alex Telles.
The Premier League champions-elect have one of the strongest starting lineups in Europe, let alone England. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side do seem to be lacking quality backup options in a few positions, one of which is the left-back slot.
Andrew Robertson has been exceptional at left-back since signing from Hull City in 2017. But, having let go of Alberto Moreno on a free transfer last summer, the Reds do lack a proper left-back in the squad to provide healthy competition to the Scotsman.
James Milner has done well every time he has been asked to deputize, but the midfielder is already 34 years old. Hence, Liverpool need to look past the veteran and recruit a new left-back to act as a backup and challenge Robertson for the starting berth. Firpo’s attacking capabilities should make him a good fit in Klopp’s enterprising side.
Defensive issues have plagued Tottenham throughout the 2019-20 season, leaving manager Jose Mourinho with a big rebuild job ahead of next season. The Lilywhites’ squad has been found wanting in depth and quality across the pitch, with the full-back slots especially being a concern for the Portuguese tactician.
Danny Rose was allowed to leave the club on loan in January and Tottenham are happy to sell him on a permanent basis in the summer. Ryan Sessegnon was recruited from Fulham last summer, but the youngster is viewed as more of an attacking player than a full-back by Mourinho, which would leave him with only Ben Davies as an out-and-out left-back in the squad next term.
Firpo might not exactly be a player in the typical Mourinho mould, but considering that Tottenham might have to spend heavily to strengthen other areas in the squad, especially the centre-forward department, it would make sense for them to look at an inexpensive option. This would make the Barcelona man a viable target for the North Londoners.