Why Manchester United should have signed Junior Firpo
Manchester United have endured a mixed start to the new season, beating Chelsea handsomely but failing to beat Wolves, Crystal Palace and Southampton.
The Red Devils spent a lot of money on new recruits in the form of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James. As far as the outgoings are concerned, they sold Romelu Lukaku and Matteo Darmian to Inter Milan and Parma respectively, whilst releasing Ander Herrera.
Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling have also left the club for Inter Milan and Roma respectively on loan.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were also interested in signing defender Junior Firpo from Real Betis, but a move didn’t materialise and he eventually signed for La Liga champions Barcelona.
Junior Firpo, 22, enjoyed a fine 2018/19 breakthrough season with Real Betis and caught the eyes last season, scoring three goals and providing four assists in 24 league games. He struggled with injuries previous season but they weren’t serious as Barcelona plucked him away from Real Betis.
Missing out on the Dominican Republic-born Spain U21 international could prove really costly for United, who have only Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot as the only recognised left-backs in the squad.
Shaw looked getting back to his old self last season, impressing with a series of consistent displays amidst a mediocre campaign for the Red Devils. But his form dipped towards the back-end of last season.
And now the England international has damaged his hamstring which has ruled him out for at least five weeks. With Dalot also out injured, Ashley Young started in the 1-1 draw with Southampton before the international break.
Shaw may have won the club’s Player of the Year award the last term but his form and fitness remain a doubt. That’s where the signing of Junior Firpo would have made complete sense for United.
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Firpo is an attacking left-back, who can also play as a wing-back or in an advanced role on the left.
His pace, power and energy would have suited United’s style of play under Solskjaer with Aaron Wan-Bissaka bombing down the opposite flank. He could have been a straight upgrade on Shaw due to his balance of offensive and defensive traits.
Truly, Firpo could have made a massive difference at Old Trafford. His qualities are tailor-made for Premier League football but as things stand, the Red Devils have missed a big trick by not signing the Spain Under-21 international.