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Papers: Koeman to promote Alejandro Balde if Junior Firpo leaves in January

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There could be changes in defence

The Otten Cup - Eindhoven Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman is reportedly planning to promote Barcelona B left-back Alejandro Balde to the first-team squad as back-up to Jordi Alba if Junior Firpo departs in January.

The 17-year-old is plastered all over the front page of Sport on Thursday with a report that he could be part of Koeman’s plans for 2021.

Barcelona are apparently already “convinced” that Balde has what it takes to be a “top-level player” and promoting the youngster also means they won’t have to sign a replacement.

Balde hasn’t actually played yet this season for Barca B because he was ruled out for six weeks after picking up an ankle ligament injury in their final pre-season game in October.

Yet the injury doesn’t appear to have hindered his first-team chances with Koeman appearing to be a fan of the youngster already.

Meanwhile, Junior Firpo’s name keeps cropping up when it comes to which Barcelona players could depart the club in January.

The defender’s only made two substitute appearances in 2020-21 and the writing appears to be on the wall less than 18 months after he arrived from Real Betis.