Sunday, January 22, 2023

Leeds could ditch Firpo for Ola Aina

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Leeds United have overseen plenty of high-profile transfers since their return to the Premier League, and as such, Victor Orta has produced many masterclasses.

Buying young lesser-known talent from European leagues, he has assembled a side that was capable of challenging further up the table than they have been in the last season and a half.

However, with a high turnover, there are bound to be a few failures too.

Arguably few stand out as much as Junor Firpo, especially considering how it initially seemed like another coup from the Spaniard.

Arriving from Barcelona, the 26-year-old was billed as an athletic attacking full-back who could bring dynamism to a left flank previously occupied by Gjanni Alioski.

Having featured 41 times for the Catalan giants, it was quickly discovered that there was a reason he was so quickly dismissed from Camp Nou.

His debut season in the Premier League saw the side nearly relegated as he endured a 6.60 average SofaScore rating, whilst this campaign has seen that drop to an abysmal 6.30. Jesse Marsch has now turned to playing Pascal Struijk in his position, despite being a natural centre-back.

The Whites have therefore been linked with a host of players to fill that role in recent months, with Torino’s Ola Aina potentially an option for the club after some interest in the summer.

Due to contract issues, a return to the Premier League could be on the cards for the Nigerian who impressed with Fulham, as his current side hope to cash in on him.

Having moved after their relegation, the 26-year-old has thrived since moving to Italy, outlined in his 6.88 average SofaScore rating this season.

Although he might have earned praise for his performances at right back, the claim that he is “Mr Versatile” – as noted by Fulham podcaster Sammy James – suggests that he could thrive wherever he is played.

The £31k-per-week star is averaging an impressive 1.3 tackles and 1.4 clearances per game but marrying it with a respectable 0.7 key passes a game too, via SofaScore.

He is far more well-rounded and would be a far more dependable option than Leeds’ current left-back.

This January might be the perfect time for Orta and Marsch to finally rid themselves of their underwhelming £13m flop in favour of a proven defender at this level.

Numisteamone

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