Southampton’s hopes of signing Barcelona defender Junior Firpo this summer look to have been dashed after reports have suggested that he’d prefer a move to AC Milan rather than a switch to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
Both Southampton and West Ham have regularly been linked with the Real Betis man this summer, with the left-back one of several players likely to be sold by the Catalan side as they look to ease their financial woes.
However, it seems as if AC Milan are now leading the race for the 24-year-old after Spanish news outlet Sport claimed that he favours a move to the Italian side, although they are interested in a loan-to-buy deal, with Barcelona understandably keen on selling him permanently, with West Ham and Southampton both reportedly willing to meet his asking price.
The Spaniard has struggled to impress since his switch to Barcelona in August 2019, as he has managed just 41 appearances in all competitions, in which he has contributed two goals and three assists, with Jordi Alba still very much the first-choice left-back at the Nou Camp.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the £7.2m-rated defender is set to leave the La Liga side this summer and had he managed to rediscover the form he showed at Real Betis earlier in his career, then he could’ve proved to be an excellent addition to Hasenhuttl’s side this summer.
Former Barcelona man Marc Bartra certainly rates Firpo highly, as he was full of praise for him in 2019, saying:
“He is a player who has shown that he has a lot of potential, quality and the ability of being in the right place at the right time.”
Although the Saints look close to completing a deal for fellow left-back Romain Perraud, Ryan Bertrand’s exit suggests that Hasenhuttl still needs another left-sided defender in his side to compete with the Frenchman next season, especially when you consider that Jake Vokins has shown little to suggest that he can be a reliable back-up in that position.
Therefore, it is arguably a big blow for the South Coast club that Firpo seemingly isn’t interested in a switch to the Premier League, as it would’ve been great for Hasenhuttl to have him and Perraud competing for the starting spot in his side next season.