Leeds complete £13m signing of Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo on a four-year deal as Marcelo Bielsa fixes left-back dilemma after Ezgjan Alioski left Elland Road this week
- Leeds have completed the signing of Barcelona’s Junior Firpo for £13million
- Marcelo Bielsa was looking for a left-back after Ezgjan Alioski left the club
- Firpo played just seven LaLiga games for Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona last term
- The Catalans are planning a mass exodus of players this summer due to finances
Leeds have signed Barcelona full-back Junior Firpo on a four-year deal for £13million.
The 24-year-old has spent the last two seasons at the Camp Nou but turned out just seven times in the league for Ronald Koeman’s side last term, but did play a considerable role in the Catalans’ Copa del Rey triumph earlier this year.
In signing Firpo as his first new face of the summer, Marcelo Bielsa has boosted the Whites’ left-back options with Ezgjan Alioski now out of contract.
Leeds have completed the £13m signing of Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo on a four-year deal
The deal is Marcelo Bielsa’s first new face this summer as he plots Leeds’ top-flight season
The left-back told the club’s official webiste: ‘I am really happy, I wanted to be here and I always wanted to play in the Premier League.
‘This summer for me, there was many clubs interested. But when Victor Orta spoke with me and showed me the project, I said ‘wow, this is interesting, they really want me.’
‘In this moment, I said ok I want to go to Leeds. The people said to me that a full Elland Road is incredible. I want to see this! I only want to say I will give my all here, anytime that I play I will give 100% and I saw lots of messages from fans saying ‘Marching On Together’.’
Firpo (right) is now a strong contender to be Leeds’ first-choice left-back next season
Firpo also praised the tactical work of Bielsa, who he believes can improve him as a player during his time at Elland Road.
The new signing said: ‘I saw him in Spain when he trained there. I know the coach that he is, and for me he is a really good coach. He wants to press all the time, play one against one many times, and for me that’s my football.
‘Physical football, running, having the ball, for me it’s not a problem and I think he will help me go to another level.’
The deal is set to be the latest in a long-line of departures for Barcelona this summer, who are struggling with financial difficulties this summer.
The Spanish side announced a debt of £1billion in February and several audits are circling the club to determine the extent of their financial damage ahead of the transfer window.
Firpo played 18 times in all competitions for Barcelona last term, as they won the Copa del Rey
The LaLiga giants are looking to shift players as they try to reduce their huge wage bill, and reportedly keen to release Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic and loan out Philippe Coutinho – as they still need to find the money to offer Lionel Messi a new contract.
Firpo joined Barcelona in the summer of 2019 for a £15million fee with £10million in add-ons after starring for Real Betis.
But the presence of Jordi Alba damaged his chances of starting regularly for Barcelona, but having three managers during Firpo’s time in Catalonia has no doubt disrupted things as well.
The manager who signed Firpo, Ernesto Valverde, was sacked in January 2020, before his former boss at Betis Quique Setien was dismissed after just seven months. Firpo had made 23 appearances in all competitions in his debut campaign at Barca in 2019-20.
Firpo (far right) could be the latest in a long list of departures for cash-strapped Barcelona
He will now be the main contender to start on the left-hand side of Bielsa’s defence, after Aloski’s time at Elland Road was brought to an end this week.
Leeds published an emotional statement towards the player who helped mastermind their Championship promotion push and first Premier League campaign in 16 years over his four-year spell.
The club’s director of football Victor Orta said: ‘I knew Gjanni was going to be special the moment he walked into the building.
‘The emotion I saw in his face and the face of his parents when signed his contract here at Elland Road was a beautiful moment and I was sure he was going to give everything for Leeds United.
Bielsa was looking for a new left-back after Ezgjan Alioski’s contract at Elland Road expired
‘Even with this in mind he exceeded my expectations. Gjanni has been exceptional both on and off the field, his teammates will miss him greatly, as will all of the staff at Thorp Arch and Elland Road.
‘We thank Gjanni for all of his efforts and we wish him every success for the future.’
Firpo is expected to link up with his new Leeds team-mates for pre-season training this month and could make his Premier League debut away at Manchester United on August 14.
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