Leeds United and Victor Orta have enjoyed a great deal of success in the transfer market in recent years, with the £17m signing and subsequent £55m sale of Raphina and the £5m signing of the £34.5m-rated Illan Meslier undoubtedly being two of the club’s best additions in recent memory.
However, as is to be expected at every professional football club once in a while, not every incoming deal works out as hoped – something that can easily be said of the Whites’ £13m signing of Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo back in the summer of 2021.
Indeed, despite having only been at Leeds for a little over a year, the 26-year-old has already missed a whopping 23 games as a result of a series of knocks – with the defender having so far featured for Jesse Marsch’s side just twice in the current campaign due to a knee injury.
And, when the former Spain U21 international has been on the pitch, he has disappointed, averaging a disastrous SofaScore match rating of just 6.60 over 24 Premier League appearances last season – ranking him as the Whites’ seventh-worst performer – as well as averaging a calamitous 6.30 match rating this term – currently ranking him as Marsch’s worst player in the league.
As such, it is not difficult to understand why Orta was linked with a move to bring Empoli left-back Fabiano Parisi to Elland Road last summer, as the 21-year-old would very much appear to represent a huge upgrade on Firpo.
Indeed, over his 11 Serie A appearances this season, the £15.5m-rated talent has been in sensational form at the back, helping his side keep three clean sheets, as well as making an average of 2.7 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 2.5 clearances and winning 7.1 duels – at a success rate of 62% – per game.
The Italy U21 international has also caught the eye going forwards, bagging one goal and creating one big chance for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 1.2 key passes, playing 2.4 long balls and completing 1.5 dribbles per fixture.
These returns have seen the £3.1k-per-week defender who Alvaro Canibe dubbed “masterful” average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.05, ranking him as Empoli’s second-best performer in the top flight of Italian football.
So, considering Firpo’s struggles both on and off the pitch, coupled with Parisi’s undoubted ability and potential for future growth, the argument that Orta must bin the 26-year-old in favour of reigniting his interest in the Italian sensation is an extremely easy one to make.