As Liga returns to action this weekend after the final international break of the season, reigning champions Barcelona are still reeling from their stunning 4-3 loss to Real Betis at the Nou Camp, as La Blaugrana lost for the first time in the top flight in over two years.
In the midst of a chaotic opening three months of the campaign, Quique Setien’s Los Verdiblancos put the cherry on the cake for the opening third of the season.
Ten days ago in Catalonia however, it was the showing of star full-back Junior Firpo who drove on Betis to a momentus win at the champions.
Scoring his second goal in consecutive games, the flying 22-year-old Dominican Republic-born Spaniard was a constant menace for the Andalusians on the left wing – opening the scoring – and supplied the assist for Sergio Canales’ decisive winner.
Firpo catches Premier League eyes
His run of impressive showings in Spain, having cemented his place in the Betis starting XI, has caught the eye of a number of clubs across the continent.
Indeed, Talksport reported last week that Premier League scouts have had their eye on Firpo, with both Arsenal and Manchester City keen on recruiting the full-back, with the Gunners and Citizens respectively looking to address issues at left-back.
Netting twice on his breakthrough season thus far, Firpo joined the Betis’ youth setup in June 2014 where he also scored eight times in 74 appearances.
Having played 15 times for the senior side, the Spaniard was recently called up for U-21 international bow in August, as the versatile player continues to bloom in Spain.
Flying Spaniard must remain
Known simply as ‘Junior’, talk in recent days have suggested that a move may not be far away, with his agent Pere Guardiola – the brother of the City boss – seeming to indicate that a move may be in the pipeline.
With Benjamin Mendy having undergone knee surgery in Barcelona last week, City’s French full-back’s progress in Manchester has been stinted after a impressive return to form from last season’s injury problems.
Firpo of similar build and speed would fit like a glove into City’s team, but would his transition be seamless as even the very best have found adapting to the rigours of English football.
In his early twenties also, the defender seems to taking the game in his stride, but for a player of such promise, his formative years are vital.
Surrounded by City’s vast talent pool as he would be Firpo would surely flourish, but a move would undoubtedly have its’ risks.
With Betis themselves wracked by inconsistency in mid-table, Firpo may not be able to showcase his talents on any major European stage right now, but the defender is making steady progress which for him is enough.
Whilst the lure of the riches and glamour of the Premier League may indeed be the strongest of pulls, the Spaniard must bide his time and remain in Spain – for now.