Southampton are set to miss out on transfer target Junior Firpo, with The Athletic reporting that he has arrived in England for a medical with Leeds United, which will surely be a cause of frustration for Ralph Hasenhuttl.
According to the Athletic writer Adam Crafton, Leeds will pay £12.8m to sign the 24-year-old from Barcelona this summer, with his move set to be confirmed this week.
Southampton have been heavily linked with the former Real Betis man in recent months and although they have confirmed the signing of fellow left-back Romain Perraud, it seems clear that the Saints need more competition and depth in that position ahead of next season.
After Ryan Bertrand’s departure earlier in the summer, it would be unfair to expect Perraud to be Southampton’s only natural left-back in his debut season at the club, especially with youngster Jake Vokins joining Ross County on loan for the season.
Therefore, it comes as a big blow that another of Southampton’s potential full-back options for this summer is no longer on the market, as it would have been good for Hasenhuttl to have two quality young left-backs competing for a starting spot in his side next season.
Whilst Firpo’s time at Barcelona didn’t really go to plan, as he made just 41 appearances in two seasons at the club, he was competing with a world-class left-back in Jordi Alba, and still has plenty of time to realise the potential he showed at Real Betis.
His former manager at both Betis and Barcelona Quique Setien was full of praise for him when he joined the Catalan side, saying:
“Barca have made a good deal. It’s a boy with enormous potential, youth, desire, excitement and quality. He’s worth the gamble.
“He will make progress at Barca because he has the desire and potential for growth. He has things to improve, of course.
“Barca have made an excellent deal. He has some qualities to polish, and good things that will come in handy.”
Therefore, it seems as if Southampton are missing out on a potential gem in Firpo, and they will have to look elsewhere for another left-back this summer, as they do not want to find themselves in a situation where the only left-back at the club is new signing Perraud as it would be massively unfair on him to be expected to come into a new league and play every game at a high level for an entire campaign.
Hasenhuttl should be gutted that Firpo is moving to Leeds and not to St Mary’s.