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What’s next for Junior Firpo and Barcelona?

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The left-back may leave but who could replace him?

Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

A big summer is approaching in Barcelona. With president Joan Laporta publicly expressing that “a cycle is over and the renewal process has begun,” changes are expected to be made at the Camp Nou.

With a need to make sales in order to reduce the wage-bill — one of the many players that the club is ready to offload is the Spanish left-back Junior Firpo, who was closing in on a loan deal to Italian giants AC Milan last January.

The left-back isn’t short of any suitors at all, hence why it won’t be a difficult task for the club to sell him. Most interest is coming from Italy, with clubs like Napoli and AC Milan reportedly eyeing his situation. English clubs such as Southampton and West Ham are also believed to have shown interest in getting Firpo this summer.

In addition, with Ronald Koeman staying for at least another season, it will make things much more complicated for Firpo since he doesn’t enter the plans of the Dutch coach. The player knows that he would have to leave this summer if he really wants more minutes.

It is very clear that Barcelona wants to sell Junior Firpo this summer, but a departure also means that they would have to look for a new left-back to replace him. One of the many names that have been linked in the Spanish press to replace the Barça left-back and a clear ‘fan favorite’ is Valencia’s Jose Gaya.

Valencia CF v SD Eibar - La Liga Santander Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Regardless of his price, which could range from between €15m-€35m, Jose Gaya would be a brilliant addition into the Barcelona side. He is mainly known to be an attacking-full back on the left-flanks and can cause some serious problems to the opposition when in-form. Another plus is that Gaya, who has only played for Valencia throughout his professional career so far, already has the experience of playing at top-flight football in Spain.

Barcelona currently has Jordi Alba as the main left-back, but a good team always needs to have two well-quality players competing for a particular position — and this is where Jose Gaya can come in. He is still just 26 years old and is very much capable of giving Alba a good fight for a spot in the starting XI.

Of course I’m not suggesting that Gaya is going to be the next “big thing” — but due to his qualities and the competitiveness he can bring towards that left-flank, I personally would love to see him rocking the Barça shirt at the Camp Nou next season!

As of late, there’ve also been some rumors in the Spanish press suggesting that a swap deal can happen between Valencia and Barcelona involving Jose Gaya and Junior Firpo.

However, as of today, it sounds nothing more than just ‘paper talk’ and ‘normal speculation’ considering neither club have officially taken any steps towards making such an operation a reality yet.

But that’s the beauty of the transfer window — one day, a deal might sound unlikely but the next day it could very well be back on the cards. ‘Never say never in the transfer market’ as they say.

Another left-back who can replace Junior Firpo is Atalanta’s Robin Gosens, who has been linked with Barcelona in the last couple of weeks.

Atalanta BC v Juventus - TIMVISION Cup Final Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Reliable reports suggest that there was an enquiry from the Catalan club for Gosens, but that’s all there is to know. In addition, as per the same, it is still currently possible that Atalanta will activate the unilateral option to renew his contract for an additional year.

Barcelona B’s very talented Alejandro Balde has also been said as a replacement for Junior Firpo. However, there is currently no confirmation on whether he’ll be promoted next season.

Junior Firpo left Real Betis in 2019 to join Barcelona on a five-year deal — the operation was worth €18M + €12M in variables. Last season, he had only made 18 appearances for Barcelona and a departure is now looking very likely with many clubs ready to get his signature.