West Ham linked with Barcelona player - The Verdict

Barcelona defender Junior Firpo

Earlier this week, ESPN linked Barcelona defender Junior Firpo with a move to either AC Milan or West Ham. 

The former Spain U21 was reported to be keen on leaving the LaLiga giants to find more regular football, having started just once in the Spanish top flight so far this season.

And while Fabrizio Romano has more recently claimed he's now most likely to stay at the Nou Camp due to a lack of progress in negotiations with AC Milan, it would be foolish to rule out a Hammers move just yet considering how crazy things can get in the last few days of a transfer window. 

But even if the potential is still there for the Hammers to snap up the 24-year-old, would Firpo actually be a good signing for the east London outfit?

GIVEMESPORT writers Jack Saville, Jonathan Gorrie and Christy Malyan provide their verdicts on that exact question below...

Jack Saville

"Junior Firpo could be West Ham's long-term replacement for Aaron Cresswell. The flying full-back has had a tough time since leaving Real Betis for Barcelona, but he showed enough during his final season at Betis to underline his credentials for a new challenge in the Premier League.

"Cresswell has been in excellent form this season as both a left-sided central defender and as a left-back, but at 31 years of age there's no doubt the Hammers need to be preparing for a future without him. Firpo is only 24 and showcased his dynamic capabilities with three goals and four assists during the 2018/19 season that earned him a move to Camp Nou.

"Defensively, the fringe Barcelona man has only been dribbled past 0.5 times per game on average during his career, while also completing 1.4 tackles and 1 interception. David Moyes could mould him into a great asset for the club."

Jonathan Gorrie

"Is there much need to improve on Arthur Masuaku as things stand?

"While that may have sounded daft at earlier points in his West Ham career, the 27-year-old looked to be one of the club's more impressive players prior to his recent injury.

"Using data from FBREF, Masuaku's attacking importance is evident.

"No regular Irons starter averages more progressive carries per game than him (7.1) or as many into the final third (2.66). Furthermore, the fact he also ranks third for regular starters in terms of successful pressing percentage (33%) suggests he's capable of doing the defensive work too.

"One of the most improved players during Moyes' second stint in charge of West Ham, there doesn't appear to be a need for Firpo at the moment, particularly with young Ben Johnson also capable of playing there."

1 of 30
Juan Cuadrado in action for Chelsea

How much did Chelsea pay for Juan Cuadrado in February 2015?

Christy Malyan

"Firpo is clearly a talented player - it's hard to make Barcelona's senior squad without being one - and I have no doubt he's got the pedigree to be a successful player in the Premier League. 

"But for me, success in east London will ultimately come down to how Moyes uses him. Firpo's best season to date came in 2018/19 when he racked up seven goal involvements for Real Betis, but he operated almost exclusively as a wing-back that season. 

"When used as a conventional full-back he isn't quite so effective, because the 24-year-old is such an offense-minded player. One need only look at his Betis highlights to recognise he not only supported attacks but also got into the box to try and score goals.

"So really it boils down to whether Moyes intends to use a system with wing-backs, as he did at the start of this season, or stick with the back four we've seen more recently.

"If it's the latter, then moving for Firpo is a bit of a gamble. If it's the former, he could prove to be a real gem for the Hammers."

News Now - Sport News