According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, as cited by Sport, AS Roma have expressed their interest in Barcelona star Junior Firpo. The left-back has been made available by the Spanish giants after he failed to make the desired impact at Camp Nou. It is believed that Barca are expecting around €25 million for Firpo this summer.
Junior Firpo’s struggles at Barcelona
Firpo joined Barcelona last summer, in an €18 million move from Real Betis. He was highly rated by the Catalans at that time, with the club even going as far as selling other options in Marc Cucurella while loaning out Juan Miranda in order to instil him as the primary alternative for Jordi Alba.
As a result, Firpo received a lot more game-time than expected, especially with Alba suffering from a muscle and a hamstring problem. He featured in 12 league matches and 17 in all competitions.
However, the Dominican’s performances were far from convincing. He failed to provide the assurance and composure on the left flank in the absence of Alba. His lack of positioning sense, in particular, has been a subject of major criticism as the defender often tends to leave acres of space in behind, allowing the opposition to generate a swift counter-attack.
What should Barcelona do with Firpo?
The problem with offloading Firpo this summer is that Barcelona, just like any other European club, will face some financial difficulties due to the Coronavirus pandemic. They have also been linked with expensive targets like Lautaro Martinez and Neymar, which could surely cripple their market activity.
As far as shipping out Firpo is concerned, Barcelona will have to buy a replacement due to lack of reliable options. That could be a difficult thing to do given the competitive nature of the market. Miranda is always an option, but it is unsure whether or not the 20-year-old is ready to play at the highest level of football.
One option would be to re-sign Cucurella, who is enjoying a stellar campaign at Getafe. The club does reportedly have a €10 million repurchase clause, which is a fairly reasonable amount for a player of his calibre. His decision making and maturity are perhaps what Barcelona have lacked from a left-back all this time.
As for Firpo, a move to AS Roma would make sense. With Aleksandar Kolarov nearing the end of his career, the 23-year-old could compete with Leonardo Spinazzola for a place in the first-team. A permanent sale would make sense for Barcelona, meanwhile, as the player clearly doesn’t have any future at the club.