Southampton have reportedly received a boost in their summer transfer pursuit of Barcelona full-back Junior Firpo.
According to a report from Mundo Deportivo – via Sports Witness – Barcelona are looking to sell their player and two offers from the Premier League are preferred, with Saints being credited with interest “for weeks”.
AC Milan had been pushing to sign Firpo on loan but Barcelona’s need to sell in order to balance the books has seen them favouring a permanent move. The Catalan giants are said to have made 12 senior players available for moves as they look for a big summer of change.
It remains to be seen whether Saints will be able to stretch their own summer budget to the €16m that Barca are said to be demanding for the 24-year-old’s services.
Which full-back will Southampton go for?
Saints are said to be close to securing a deal for Stade Brest left-back Romain Perraud and he will become Ryan Bertrand’s permanent replacement. However, the club will need at least two full-backs this summer with just Kyle Walker-Peters left at times last season.
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Brandon Williams of Manchester United and Neco Williams of Liverpool have both been linked with Saints given that they can play both right and left-back, but Firpo has also appeared as a potential target and fits the same category.
It may well come down to the deal that is most achievable for Saints in their current circumstances.
Both Williams’ are players of potential. Neco is a senior international for Wales and is with their squad for Euro 2020, whilst Brandon has one cap for England Under-21s and has played in some big games for Manchester United.
Saints could find it difficult to strike a deal with either United or Liverpool. This was seen when Brandon Williams was not allowed to move to Saints on-loan in January because of Covid-19 and fitness fears seeing squads fully stretched.
Barcelona’s willingness to sell Firpo will mean a deal is perhaps easier, although they may have to spend a relatively large sum on the Dominican Republic international. What will make the deal even more favourable is the player’s history of playing at a high level with both Real Betis and Barca.