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Junior Firpo to stay in January, Phil Hay reports

Leeds United’s Junior Firpo is set to remain in Yorkshire despite rumours circulating that the club are in pursuit of another left-back in the upcoming January transfer window, according to the Athletic’s Phil Hay.

Since signing for the Whites in the 2021 summer transfer window, Firpo has struggled to establish himself as a regular member of the team’s starting XI under both current boss Jesse Marsch and his predecessor Marcelo Bielsa.

In Firpo’s defence he has been plagued by repeated injuries, yet even when fit Marsch favours Pascal Struijk – a natural centre-back – at left-back over the Dominican-born Spaniard.

Despite this fact, Firpo still “remains part of Marsch’s plans” for the future at Leeds even as the club seek to strengthen in his position in January.

Recent links to Valencia’s Jesus Vazquez and Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro provide two examples of players the Whites have been scouting.

Writing in his most recent column for The Athletic, Hay claimed:

“The club want a left-back and are weighing up younger prospects who fall into their ‘anticipating talent’ bracket.

“As he has for most of the season, Pascal Struijk is expected to continue in that role when matches begin again and any new addition would arrive as competition to the Dutchman.

“Firpo remains part of Marsch’s plans, but in 18 months he has not played well enough or been available enough for Leeds to consider his role properly covered.”

Deflection tactic?

Hay is spot on in his claim that Firpo’s performances haven’t been up to the high standard required to secure a spot in a team’s starting XI in the Premier League.

In fact, ever since his arrival to Leeds from Barcelona, Firpo has never really convinced or impressed.

It speaks volumes that Marsch prefers to play a natural centre-back in Struijk ahead of Firpo, and to be completely honest the Dutchman performs better than his Spanish counterpart ever did playing there.

Marsch may view Firpo as part of his “plans” at Leeds, but this shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the Whites are anywhere near reinforced enough in the left-back position.

Signing a natural left-back would also allow Struijk to slide back across to his favoured centre-back position, providing a much-needed boost to a faltering back line.

One thing is for certain, Firpo is not going to provide the stability nor the quality needed at left-back. A signing there is most definitely needed.

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