Reports claim West Ham United are continuing to follow Barcelona defender Junior Firpo who is likely to leave the Nou Camp this summer.
The Hammers were first linked back in January as it appeared that the left-back was surplus to requirements with the Catalans. Back then, he had made just one La Liga start and he has added just one more since the winter window. It seems as though there will be a player exodus at Barca over the summer as club officials look to rebuild.
And Junior is among the players who will reportedly be jettisoned to make way for new blood. The 24-year-old moved to Barcelona from Real Betis in the summer of 2019 despite links to Liverpool.
He penned a five-year deal but has never been able to command a regular first-team berth. In total, the Dominican Republic-born star has enjoyed 40 outings over two seasons but the majority have been from the bench.
Barca paid €18 million plus €12 million in add-ons for the former Spain Under-21 star. He reportedly has a €200m release clause but might cost just €20m for any interested suitor.
Many club have been linked, with Roma, Napoli and Marseille said to hold an interest. And back in February Arsenal’s name appeared in connection with the full-back.
But Mundo Deportivo are reporting that the Hammers have ‘probed’ the Spanish club over the defender’s availability.
Cresswell an obstacle to Junior capture
David Moyes will certainly look to strengthen this summer to continue the stellar work of 2020-2021. Wednesday’s 3-1 triumph over relegated West Brom sees the East End outfit in sixth spot in the standings.
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The top-four challenge faded but a point at home to Southampton on Sunday would guarantee a Europa League group stage spot. It is well known that the Scot is targeting a striker this summer but others will also arrive.
However, he has Aaron Cresswell at left-back, with the England man a permanent fixture in the position. He has started 35 of the Hammers’ 37 league games and is as reliable as ever.
Therefore Junior may well spend most of his time on the bench. That would mean a familiar scenario to the one at Barca and a move to London would not solve his issues.
However, he has a few strings to his bow. He can operate as a centre back or on the left of midfielder and has five goals and six assists to his name.
The move might make sense but all will depend on what the Spaniards want for his services.