West Ham United must swoop for FC Barcelona full-back Junior Firpo in the January transfer window after losing Arthur Masuaku for the foreseeable future through injury.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Firpo faces an uncertain future at the Camp Nou having featured little for Barcelona since joining the La Liga powerhouse from Real Betis in 2019.
The 24-year-old is now considered surplus to requirements having featured infrequently under Ernesto Valverde, Quique Setien or now Ronald Koeman, who has been particularly loath to field the defender, with Firpo awarded just 29 minutes of La Liga action thus far this season.
Firpo is aware to the fact that if he wishes to play more often, he will have to leave Barca, who are not opposed to sanctioning a winter exit with a handful of potential destinations already emerging.
West Ham, SSC Napoli and Granada are all said to be considering January moves for Firpo, with David Moyes’ Premier League outfit long-time admirers and interested in a loan with an option to buy.
West Ham must seize on Firpo’s uncertain future at the Camp Nou to strike a deal with Barcelona this winter, having lost Masuaku for the foreseeable after the DR Congo international underwent career-saving surgery on a knee injury that has plagued him for the best part of two years.
Moyes called on Aaron Cresswell to replace Masuaku against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, but the three-cap England international could not cope with the pace needed for the full-back role after his excellent displays at centre-half this season.
Cresswell was often turned inside out by Andros Townsend, as Moyes’ need for winter reinforcements was laid bare in front of an empty London Stadium.
The Scottish coach may now have the ideal chance to find his solution in Firpo, who former Betis teammate Marc Bartra believes has “a lot of potential” and was tipped to join Liverpool before moving to Barcelona, with the Reds said to have eyed activating his €50m (£45m) release clause.
Firpo may not have featured much in La Liga this season, but has been given frequent minutes in the Champions League with five outings, in which he’s averaged 2.0 duels won with a 67% success rate and offered 0.2 key balls, 0.2 accurate crosses, 0.6 successful tackles and played 29.8 accurate passes with a 93% completion rate, per SofaScore.