Leeds left-back Junior Firpo has failed to live up to expectations since arriving in West Yorkshire last summer from Barcelona for a fee of £13.5m, and with him being injured, Stuart Dallas filled in very well yesterday in place of the Spaniard.
Having managed an average match rating of just 6.59 in his first Premier League campaign, it’s unlikely that new boss Jesse Marsch will have been too impressed with what he has seen so far from the defender, and should the American steer the club away from relegation this year, it’s quite likely that he will identify that position as a problem area for his team.
One player that has been linked with a move to Elland Road who could replace Firpo is Bologna full-back Aaron Hickey, who has been exceptional in the Italian Serie A this season.
According to 90Min, Leeds are among a whole host of clubs who are currently tracking the 19-year-old, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all in the race for his signature.
The report also states that while the Scottish defender is happy at Bologna, he believes the next step in his career will be at a Premier League club – giving hope to teams like Leeds who will be able to guarantee regular first team football.
Spanish outlet Marca have predicted Hickey to “explode” in 2022, with many comparing him to “a young Gareth Bale” – but with the former Hearts prospect being able to use both feet and play in either full-back position, he already is arguably more advanced than the Real Madrid star was at his current age.
Having scored four Serie A goals already this season and adding an assist, he has also been tipped to be named the next European Golden Boy, following in the foot-steps of Barcelona star Pedri, who won the award last season ahead of English midfielder Jude Bellingham.
Ranking among full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues and continental competitions in the top 3% for least amount of times dribbled past per 90 (0.44), top 1% for goals minus expected goals per 90 (+0.15), and top 1% for fouls drawn per 90 (2.60).
He certainly has the potential to become one of the best full backs in the world in the future, but he would also make an immediate impact at Elland Road should he opt to sign for Leeds.