West Ham are reportedly close to sealing one of their first signings of the summer…
According to Spanish news outlet Sport, the Irons have been talking to Barcelona over the last few days to finalize an agreement for the transfer of left-back Junior Firpo.
The 24-year-old is believed to be costing around €16m (£14m) with add-ons but the Hammers face stiff competition from Premier League rivals Southampton, who too have held discussions over signing him.
He has struggled for game time at the Nou Camp and as per the report, the Catalan outfit have rejected all loan advances with an option to buy as they want to cash in on the £9m-rated defender.
This could present a pretty nice deal for David Moyes.
A new left-back is probably quite low down the list of priorities for the East Londoners, with the need to find a new striker and a desire to sign Jesse Lingard permanently probably sitting top of the tree.
However, for just £14m, this seems like shrewd business from David Sullivan and the rest of the club’s hierarchy.
Both Aaron Cresswell – Moyes’ current first-choice – and Arthur Masuaku – the deputy – have endured stints on the treatment table this season, especially the latter, who missed the Irons’ final seven league games.
Firpo may have fallen out of favour under ex-Everton boss Ronald Koeman, starting only seven times across all competitions, but he remains only 24 so a lot of his abilities, which WhoScored list as being ‘defensive contribution,’ ‘passing’ and ‘holding onto the ball’ are surely still key to his game.
It’s easy to forget that this is a player that was once linked to Manchester City for €60m (£52m) whilst still at Real Betis before Barcelona won the race for his signature.
The Hammers could be getting him for a fraction of the price.
Furthermore, he was once touted for big things by legendary defender Eric Abidal, who told Diario Sport (via Tribuna):
“He’s a player with a lot of potential. He could be one of the best left-backs in the world. I always tell him that he must work hard and be aware of the (style of) play. He’s going to get better, for sure. It’s always difficult to get started at Barca.”
That is hugely encouraging considering just how good a player Abidal was on his day and it only further suggests why West Ham could be edging closer towards an absolute bargain piece of business.
Sullivan must make sure he gets this one over the line.