Junior Firpo pushing for return to former club with double defensive departure on for Leeds

Junior Firpo of Leeds United Credit: Alamy
Junior Firpo of Leeds United Credit: Alamy

Leeds United have found a suitor willing to take Junior Firpo off their hands as a consequence of another Premier League transfer, according to a report.

Junior Firpo arrived at Leeds from Barcelona in 2021, but has been a major disappointment. In his debut season with the club, he made 27 appearances, failing to score but providing two assists. His defensive qualities – or lack thereof – came under serious scrutiny.

This season has been even more challenging for him. Injury issues have prevented Firpo from making much of an impact. Even when he has been available, the 26-year-old has often missed out on a place in Jesse Marsch’s team to Pascal Struijk – naturally a centre-back.

Leeds have also invested in Max Wober this month, who like Struijk can play as a centre-half or a left-back. Therefore, Firpo faces a battle to get back into contention for Leeds.

But now, it has emerged that he could be in line for a transfer away from the club. According to El Desmarque, Firpo is now on the radar of Real Betis, who are in the process of selling their own left-back, Alex Moreno, to Aston Villa.

In turn, Firpo has ended up on Real Betis’ shortlist of potential replacements. Were he to move there, it would be a return to his former club.

Firpo came through Betis’ youth ranks before making 43 appearances for their first team between 2018 and 2019, before joining Barcelona.

Now, Betis could take him back to La Liga. Promisingly for their sake, Firpo would welcome a return to the Seville-based side.

That said, a deal is seen as difficult during the January transfer window. What’s more, Firpo remains under contract at Elland Road until 2025.

Therefore, Betis have identified some alternatives, such as Roma’s Matias Vina, Almeria’s Sergio Akieme and Rayo Vallecano’s Fran Garcia.

But Firpo is firmly among the candidates to take over from Moreno at Estadio Benito Villamarin.

Junior Firpo not only Leeds defender due for change

He is not the only defender who could be due to leave Leeds this month. According to The Athletic, two of the younger options on the Whites’ books could be set for changes of scenery.

First, centre-back Charlie Cresswell is likely to be recalled from his loan spell with Millwall due to a lack of gametime.

Instead of reintegrating him, Leeds would be planning to send him on loan to a different destination. Reports have suggested Sunderland could be his takers.

Furthermore, The Athletic‘s Leeds expert Phil Hay has revealed that Leo Hjelde could also be loaned out by the West Yorkshire side.

His destination might not be too far away, since he has become a target for South Yorkshire club, Rotherham United.

With Wober’s arrival blocking his pathway to play for the first team at left-back or centre-back, Hjelde could drop down to the Championship for the next six months.

Leeds are seemingly assessing all their options at the back and some may benefit from heading elsewhere.

Firpo’s departure would be the most high profile. But as things stand, it also appears to be one of the more challenging deals to complete.

READ MORE: Huge transfer boost for Leeds as PSG drop out of race to sign Ligue 1 star, with Fabrizio Romano delivering final blow

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