Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

‘Too difficult for him’ – Leeds transfer strategy called into question amid £13m mistake

James Holland
Junior Firpo Leeds

A pundit has appeared to question Leeds United’s transfer strategy amid the struggles of left-back Junior Firpo.

The Whites lost Ezgjan Alioski in the summer after being unable to tie him down to a new contract. The North Macedonian went on to join Al-Ahli in the Saudi Arabian league.

Leeds did extensive research to find his replacement before landing on Firpo, then at Barcelona. The 25-year-old looked to be a good fit and had strong admiration for manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Leeds spent a reported £13million to bring Firpo to Elland Road. But the defender has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.

He registered an own goal in the 2-1 home defeat to West Ham in late September. Firpo was also torn apart by Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey and taken off at half time in the goalless draw on the south coast.

Former manager Alex McLeish thinks it may take the player some time to reach Alioski’s levels.

“We said about Alioski he was a converted wing-back converted from a left-winger,” he told Football Insider.

“For a period of 10 years in France, that was happening a lot. They came out of France to teams in the likes of Italy and England, playing that wing-back, attacking role, because they weren’t great at defending.

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“That was levelled at Alioski but I thought he grew into it.

“Bringing in Firpo, that sounded like a big plan and a good plan, coming from Barcelona. He’s struggled since he’s come in.

“Coping with the speed, the pace and the technical ability of the Premier League players has proved to be very tough for him.

“He’s either got work ahead of him or it might be too difficult for him.”

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Leeds target to stay put in January

Meanwhile, Leeds transfer target John Swift will not be leaving Reading in the January window.

That’s according to the Reading Chronicle, who claim Swift has no intention of quitting the club mid season.

However, his stance is an intriguing one as he will be free to leave in June once his contract expires.

Swift’s impressive goalscoring record means it’s no surprise Leeds holds an interest. The Englishman boasts a record of eight goals and nine assists in 21 Championship matches, all from central midfield.

Leeds will have to fight off Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United if they want to land the in-form ace.

READ MORE: Victor Orta ‘rips up’ original Bielsa transfer plan as Leeds crisis springs more expensive idea