The Athletic’s Phil Hay has revealed that Leeds United defender Junior Firpo has suffered an injury blow and is expected to be out for a “couple of weeks”.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side signed the left-back from Spanish giants Barcelona in the summer, and he’s been thrust straight into the action in the Premier League, playing six out of the first six games and completing the full 90 minutes in the past four before this weekend.
Firpo was missing from the match-day squad against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton, and Hay has now delivered yet more bad news on the injury front for Bielsa and Leeds.
He said: “Firpo has a muscular problem. Expected to be out for a couple of weeks.”
While Firpo may not have been a regular starter at the Camp Nou last season – he played just 18 times in all competitions – he is the kind of attacking left-back who seems to be a perfect fit for Bielsa’s Leeds.
In his real breakthrough season with Real Betis during the 2018/2019 campaign, Firpo managed three goals and four assists in La Liga, as well as averaging 0.8 shots, 0.8 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per game.
The fact he’s had a difficult start to life at Leeds, at a time where the team as a whole has been struggling it should be said, should not disguise the fact that he will take some time to settle in.
Perhaps more than any club in the Premier League, adjusting to things at Elland Road with Bielsa’s notoriously intense tactics and famed pressing is arguably the most difficult.
But aside from being without someone who could provide such an attacking outlet down the left-flank, Firpo’s injury is yet another to add to the list of growing issues for Bielsa on that front.
He’s already seen a number of first-team players fall prey to illness, injury and even the dreaded fatigue of the international break – something that saw Raphinha rushed back to England after playing for Brazil but then not even playing on Saturday.
Bielsa would have been desperately hoping for some respite with injuries, but instead, he’s got another to contend with. He’s sure to be devastated.
Meanwhile, Leeds are eyeing this La Liga starlet…