Barcelona identify Jordi Alba and Junior Firpo replacements

Spain's defender Jordi Alba jokes with teammates during a training session. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Spain's defender Jordi Alba jokes with teammates during a training session. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images) /

The left side of the Barcelona defense could be completely different next season as the club are open to hearing offers for both Jordi Alba and Junior Firpo.

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According to Mundo Deportivo, the Catalans have identified Valencia’s Jose Luis Gaya as their priority should Alba leave. The Spanish left-back’s contract ends in 2023 and he’s yet to sign an extension with Valencia.

Barcelona could have entirely new left-backs come next season.

He’s been linked with Barcelona in the past but his arrival is dependent on Alba leaving — something he’s already said he doesn’t want to do.

With regard to Firpo, according to Sport, Barcelona and AC Milan are in advanced talks that would see the former Real Betis player join the Serie A side.

The negotiations have progressed the last couple of days but there are still a few hurdles left to jump through. The main one being whether the move is permanent or on a loan.

Barcelona have remained steadfast that they want a permanent transfer whereas Milan are only interested in a loan. A compromise could see Firpo leave on a loan but with Milan having an obligation to buy.

In that respect, should Firpo leave, the club has already sounded out Chelsea about Marcos Alonso. The 30-year-old has a contract with Chelsea until 2023 but has not had much playing time.

In fact, Barca were interested in him and were considering bringing him on a loan during the winter transfer window as he was more or less forgotten under then-manager Frank Lampard. Their interest has not gone away.

Similar to Gaya, Alonso’s future depends on what happens with Firpo.

In good news for Barça, another potential suitor has emerged for Firpo in Leeds United. The player would be open to the idea but his preferred choice remains Milan.

The crux of any transfer rumor associated with Barcelona is they are unlikely to be able to pay any significant fee for a player. Their finances are a mess and can only sign free agents or try to work out a swap deal.

That’s exactly what they’re going to have to do if they want to get someone like Gaya. Again, fortunately for them, they do have players that Valencia would like in a possible exchange. They would be striker Martin Braithwaite and midfielder Carles Aleña.

Aside from the Firpo negotiations, everything else appears to be in its early stages. Given Barcelona’s need to reduce the wage bill, expect them to prioritize selling players before making any new signings.

Next. Concern in Barcelona over lack of player sales. dark

On paper, however, the replacements they have lined up in case both Firpo and Alba leave look like upgrades. With Gaya, he’s a player who can be the starter and is already a Spain international. With Alonso, he’s a veteran with plenty left in the tank who Ronald Koeman can rely on more than he did with Firpo.