Barcelona power struggle likely to thwart West Ham move for defender

Junior Firpo TEAMtalk

West Ham and AC Milan are reportedly keen on Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo but circumstances at the Nou Camp may keep him in Spain.

The 24-year-old joined the Catalans from Real Betis in the summer of 2019. Barca paid €18 million plus €12 million in add-ons for the former Spain Under-21 star.

They clearly liked what they saw of him at Betis but he has been given scant opportunity with the Blaugrana.

The Dominican Republic-born defender made just 11 La Liga starts last season. And he has just one start among four league outings in 2020-2021.

The Hammers have been linked but it is likely he would act as back-up to Aaron Cresswell. That would mean more time on the bench for a player who craves first-team opportunities.

Milan, who are challenging for the Serie A title for the first time in years, are also potential suitors. The Italians want back-up for Theo Hernandez, with Diogo Dalot their only current alternative at left-back.

It is open to debate as to whether either club would be that attractive to Junior given his current position.

A January move seems unlikely given the presidential situation at Barcelona, according to ESPN. The new man will not be elected until March 7.

The three candidates are Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa. They all voted against handing acting president Carles Tusquets the power to make signings in the winter window.

Barca want a replacement in place before they let Junior leave. And that might not happen until the summer, with funds unavailable.

Manchester City defender Eric Garcia was linked with a return to the Nou Camp. However, he will be available for nothing in the summer – a more attractive proposition for Barcelona.

Hammers hold the aces

One plus for West Ham is that they are said to be keen on a permanent deal, while Milan want a loan. That puts David Moyes in the driving seat but the Scot has already spoken about wanting to recruit only quality players.

Jordi Alba has kept Junior out of the first team. And when unavailable, the Spain international left-back has usually been replaced by right-back Sergino Dest.

That could be a warning sign for any interested club. Moyes will not want to invest in a player who then spends the majority of the campaign warming the bench.

His men are back in action on Tuesday as they welcome West Brom to the London Stadium. They will again have just Michail Antonio as their only recognised forward as the striker search continues.


READ MORE: West Ham target prolific Euro scorer