Leeds United are being strongly linked with a move for Torino and Nigeria left-back Ola Aina ahead of the January transfer window – and if Leeds do make their move for the defender, then surely it is time to go, for Junior Firpo.
Aina, 26, has spent the last four years on the books at Torino. Leaving Chelsea in 2019, he has since clocked up 103 outings for the Serie A club on the left of their defence. That is despite even going on loan to Fulham in 2020-21.
Now, the 29-time Nigeria international is out of contract at the end of the season. Tuttosport report that Torino are desperately trying to keep Aina in Italy – but a previous report states that Leeds do want to sign the London-born star.
Leeds’ issues at left-back have been well-documented. You could argue that we have not had a permanent left-sided option since the days of Charlie Taylor. Pascal Struijk is currently the first-choice option on the left side of defence.
If Leeds make Aina move then it is time to go for Firpo
Firpo was brought to the club at the start of last season. But the ex-Barcelona man has failed to live up to the initial hype, suffering a number of injuries. Now he finds himself playing second fiddle to Struijk under Jesse Marsch.
While Struijk is not the long-term answer on the left, he has been excellent during the first part of the season. Even with £55k-a-week Firpo fit, Struijk is keeping him out of the side. So, if Leeds go and sign a left-back, he is third choice.
That is not what Leeds will have hoped for when signing Firpo – and the same for the player, himself. He simply is not suited to Premier League football. Aina, meanwhile, is – impressing at Fulham during that season-long loan in 2020-21.
So, if Leeds do strike a deal for Aina in the January window. A cut-price fee, then it could be curtains for Firpo. Aina would surely contest Struijk for a start. If he wins a place, Struijk, Stuart Dallas and Leo Hjelde provide cover.