The imminent arrival of Junior Firpo at Leeds United will be just the beginning as Victor Orta eyes a higher finish than last season, according to a report.
Leeds impressed upon their long-awaited return to the Premier League last season, finishing ninth. Getting to the top half was a good achievement for Marcelo Bielsa and his players, many of whom were part of their Championship-winning squad from the previous year. But now, that squad needs to be strengthened further.
Bielsa seems to be committed for the upcoming season, so the attention will soon turn to the transfer market. That is Orta’s domain and he is already showing ambition.
It emerged recently that Leeds are close to completing the signing of Firpo from Barcelona. Left-back is an area they are looking to strengthen and they could make a statement signing by getting the former Real Betis star.
They appear to have beaten competition from AC Milan, who only wanted him on loan. Barcelona preferred a permanent sale, so Leeds emerged as the most likely candidate to sign him.
Mundo Deportivo have confirmed that a deal is imminent, but it will be far from the last big piece of business Orta oversees this summer.
They claim Leeds “want more” and Firpo would be the “first of a few” signings to guarantee them a “leap in quality”.
The West Yorkshire side were only three points away from European qualification last season. Therefore, a couple of smart signings could help them push further in that direction, even though a second season after promotion can have challenges.
But the addition of Firpo would be a statement of intent from Orta and his colleagues. The 24-year-old is expected to sign a contract until either 2025 or 2026.
Born in the Dominican Republic but a Spain under-21 international between 2018 and 2019, Firpo remains a promising prospect. He has struggled to dislodge Jordi Alba at Barca, but most players would.
In total, over the last two seasons, Firpo has started 14 games in La Liga. A move to Leeds, who have been prioritising a new left-back due to Ezgjan Alioski’s contract expiring, will give him more opportunities to play.
And with their ambitions rising, Leeds could be an exciting destination for a player looking to get back on track.
Alioski decision close
Meanwhile, a few days before the end of his contract, Alioski is preparing to make a decision on his future.
Leeds have spoken to him about a new deal, but so far there has been no indication he will sign it. It remains a possibility, in which case he could compete with Firpo for a starting spot, but it seems a move away is more likely.
Turkey appears to be the most likely destination. He was previously a target for Galatasaray, but such a move would not have gone down well with Leeds.
Therefore, he will consider other options. Now, he has two more clubs willing to take him to the Super Lig.