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West Ham at front of the queue as Barcelona tipped to sacrifice misfit

Reports in Spain claim West Ham United are ahead of their Premier League rivals in the battle to sign Barcelona’s out-of-favour defender Junior Firpo.

The 24-year-old is likely to be one of the players sacrificed by the LaLiga giants this summer. Barca’s financial struggles have been well documented and a peripheral member of the squad seems surplus to requirements. Having moved to the Nou Camp from Real Betis in the summer of 2019, the left-back has struggled for game time.

During his first season, he made 11 starts among 17 league appearances. But, far from pushing on in 2020-21, he was seen just seven times and started only three games.

AC Milan have also been linked but are said to be interested in a loan deal for the former Spain Under-21 star. That is unlikely to interest Barca, who need to get cash in the coffers as soon as possible.

Southampton are another club though to hold an interest, according to Mundo Deportivo. But their pursuit of Brest left-back Romain Perraud means Saints are already looking elsewhere.

The way could be clear for David Moyes to pounce and his fee would not break the bank. It has been suggested that the man from the Dominican Republic has a €200m release clause.

But, such is the Catalans’ financial plight, he could be available for only €20m. West Ham’s superb campaign resulted in a sixth-place finish.

That means pulling power for the London Stadium club as they earned a spot in the Europa League. It would certainly be an upgrade on sitting on the Blaugrana bench but there may be another issue of game time.

Junior to warm West Ham bench

Aaron Cresswell is Moyes’s undisputed number one left-back. The England man started 36 Premier League games for the East End outfit.

And the Scottish tactician is unlikely to bench him in favour of a new player after his displays in 2020-2021. That may well mean limited league action, with just the odd start in the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

There is always the Europa League and Junior does have experience of playing in the Champions League with his present employers. Moyes may need to sell the club to him.

There has been no word if the attack-minded stopper is up for a move to London. Other clubs might also enter the picture but, if the report is to be believed, West Ham are in pole position.

READ MORE: Burnley man pushing hard for West Ham transfer after renewed interest



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