Leeds United struck early in the summer transfer window and completed a deal for Barcelona’s Junior Firpo for around £13 million. Marcelo Bielsa had wanted cover at left-back for some time, and there was added urgency when it became apparent that Ezgjan Alioski wouldn’t renew his contract at Elland Road. Now, the question is whether the new arrival can enhance the Whites and help them improve on their stunning return to the Premier League. Early indications suggest that the Spaniard could be another masterstroke from the club’s head of recruitment, Victor Orta.
How are Leeds Expected to Fare in the Upcoming Campaign?
After United’s barnstorming campaign back in the top flight where they managed to finish in ninth place with 59 points, many people are expecting big things for the West Yorkshire side in the 2021-22 season. Indeed, according to the odds at Space Casino at the time of writing, Leeds are placed at 7/2 to finish in the top six next term. That would, of course, be an incredible feat, but under Bielsa’s stewardship, the sky is the limit.
Although Leeds have been much quieter in the transfer market this summer than they were last, there are a few reasons why the 2019-20 championship winners can be hopeful. Many of the key additions from last year failed to make a full impact last time out. Diego Llorente, Rodrigo, and Robin Koch all spend significant periods out of the matchday squad through injury. If they all manage to stay fit in the upcoming campaign, it will be a massive boost.
Of course, the addition of Firpo will also freshen things up. Stuart Dallas and Alioski both played at left-back last season, but neither are specialists in the position. The former is better suited to his new role as a box-to-box midfielder, while the latter was always much more proficient at attacking than defending.
What does Firpo Bring to the Table?
Firpo will be the first recognised left-back to play under Bielsa since Barry Douglas. The Argentine was never truly convinced by the former Wolves player, which is one of the reasons why he redeployed Dallas and Alioski from their former positions as wingers. The Scotsman was second-tier quality, though. Times have changed, and the new man at Leeds has Champions League experience.
Firpo is known to be the type of player that Bielsa likes in the left-back position, able to storm down the flanks and overlap with the left-winger. He can also whip crosses into the box for Patrick Bamford to get on the end of. Firpo should be more reliable tracking back as well and can cover other spots in defence should the need arise.
At 24 years old, the Santo Domingo-born player has the potential to be a legend at the club in the years ahead, and every Leeds fan will be hoping he has a big debut season.
Leeds had been linked with a variety of left-backs at the start of the summer, but it’s Firpo that seems to fit the bill perfectly. If he can hit the ground running and link up well with Jack Harrison on the flank, United could be deadly once again this term.