Who is Junior Firpo? The Arsenal and Man City-linked left-back who scored vs Barcelona sds


There is little doubt that Real Betis full-back Junior Firpo has been one of the revelations of the season in La Liga. The 22-year-old Dominican Republic-born player was only handed his first-team debut in February but he has quickly made himself at home and has attracted the interest of many of Europe’s top clubs. Having spent the first half of the 2017-18 season with the ‘B’ team, he was promoted to the senior squad for a Primera Division encounter with Deportivo La Coruna and provided the assist for the only goal of the game. A week later, he was handed another start, this time against Real Madrid, and another assist followed, albeit in a 5-3 defeat. “I still can’t believe I played in that match,” he said in the aftermath to El Decano Deportivo. Until he sustained a ligament injury a fortnight before the end of the season, he played every minute for the Seville side, showing formidable versatility by turning out as a defender and a midfielder on the left, while also starting four games as a centre-back in a three-man rearguard. “Dani Carvajal seems like a good player to mirror my game on: he attacks, defends and is very intense,” he said. “He’s what I’d like to become someday… And in the 2010 World Cup I really liked Brazil defender Michel Bastos because he was a winger turned into a full-back. These are my references.” After a rather slow start to the new season, he has burst back into consciousness thanks to three goals in four matches. Indeed, he particularly stood out in Betis’ stunning 4-3 victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou, opening the scoring then providing the assist for Sergio Canales to score that proved the winner. WHICH CLUBS ARE INTERESTED IN JUNIOR FIRPO? A glut of clubs have taken an interest in the rangy runner, whose desire to get forward makes him ideal as an attacking left-back or wing-back. Indeed, he has admitted that his defensive work is not entirely polished as he must improve his positional sense. Arsenal and Manchester City have both been linked with a potential swoop,