Junior Firpo: Why I swapped Barcelona for Leeds United

NEW LEEDS United signing Junior Firpo has revealed that the persuasive words of director of football Victor Orta helped convince him to join the club.

Firpo has signed a four-year deal (Picture: LUFC)
Firpo has signed a four-year deal (Picture: LUFC)

United fended off interest from a number of clubs to secure the signing of the FC Barcelona full-back for a reported €15m fee plus add-ons – with the Catalan club retaining a 20 per cent sell on of any future sale.

The 24-year-old, also linked with AC Milan, has signed a four-year deal following successful completion of a medical and a period of quarantine following his arrival in Yorkshire.

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He said: “I am really happy. I wanted to be here and I have always wanted to play in the Premier League. To be here at this club; it is a historic club with really good fans. I am excited to play here.

Junior Firpo playing for Real Betis (Picture: Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)

“Victor spoke with me and showed me the project and I said: ‘Wow, this is interesting’ and at this moment I said: ‘ok, I want to go to Leeds.’

“All the people say to me that a full Elland Road is incredible and I want to see a full stadium.”

Former Real Betis player Firpo will provide a much-needed specialised option at left-back following the recent departure of North Macedonian international Gjanni Alioski.

The versatility of Firpo has seen him feature at left-back, right-back and as part of a back three, but the player failed to dislodge Jordi Alba from the starting line-up at the Camp Nou last term and played just seven times in La Liga last season.

Salute: Junior Firpo on signing for Leeds United (Picture: LUFC)

Barca, whose gross debt is over €1 billion, need to bring in money this summer to help fund arrivals and also must reduce the wage bill to be able to register new players within the league-imposed salary cap.

Along with Neto, Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic, Philippe Coutinho and Martin Braithwaite, Firpo had been made available for a transfer.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Firpo has featured 41 times for Barca during the past two seasons, having made his breakthrough in La Liga with Betis after moving to Spain at a young age.