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Manchester United targeting Dominican-born Real Betis left-back worth between €20-€30 million

Another day in the summer transfer windows means another player is linked to Manchester United. However, this one may have some credibility because of the method used to report it. Real Betis fullback Junior Firpo is the latest in a long line of players to be linked to the Old Trafford club ahead of the start of a rebuild for the club.

Spanish publication AS has stated that Betis were currently dealing with United over the transfer of Firpo. Credit goes to Sport Witness for the translation. Normally, when United are linked to players, it seems that it has just happened to gain clicks rather than informing the public of something, whether it is happening, has happened or could be happening.

However, in this instance, that does not seem to be the case. This particular piece of information does not carry a story of its own in AS but is included in a piece written about Tottenham Hotspur’s interest in Giovani Lo Celso. The writer of the article is local to Betis, says Sport Witness, so this particular piece of news could carry some weight.

It has been stated that United are willing to pay between €25-€30 million for Firpo, who was born in the Dominican Republic but will represent Spain in the U21 Championships this summer. The 22-year-old is a left-back but can play as a defensive midfielder (on the left) also as a left-sided central defender. With United having only Luke Shaw at left-back, Firpo could add depth, competition and a rotation option.

Another Spanish publication, Diario de Sevilla, carries a similar claim about United’s interest in Firpo, written by another journalist in the Betis area, suggesting that United had taken the lead for the player, this time stating that an offer of more than €20 million would be offered for the player. It has also been stated that United have already entered the race the sign Firpo, offering a much smaller amount, trying their luck maybe, meaning they will need to raise their offer. All clubs will do this, not just United.

The fact that both claims from different people are so similar could suggest that the ‘leak’ came from Betis, which could suggest that this is true or that the club is trying to drum up interest for the player. We might see some movement in these claims in the coming weeks, keeping in mind that the transfer window may be open for domestic transfers but for international transfers, there is still more than two weeks to pass before they can be ratified.

Firpo was part of the Betis academy and has been playing for Betis B in the Spanish Segunda from the 2014/15 season to the 2017/18 season, making 14 appearances in the first team that season, scoring two goals. During the 2018/19 season, Firpo played 29 times in all competitions, scoring three goals, assisting five more. He played a total of 2,314 minutes of football in La Liga, Copa del Rey and the UEFA Europa League.

The 22-year-old is a player whose strengths include; holding onto the ball, passing (including key passes), through balls, dribbling, concentration, and his defensive contribution. Firpo also likes to play short passes, which may fit in with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s style of play in the future. The player clearly fits the talented youth bracket and has the ability to become a special player in the squad for United, whether he plays in rotation to Shaw or wrestles the left-back position from him.

It is good to see United looking at players other clubs would be looking at, turning them into potential Premier League players which may in future end up being sold to teams such as United. The whole method of targeting already established players has not worked as well is may have been though so taking a different approach in the transfer market could be beneficial for United in the long-term, which this approach would be.

Manchester United linked (not credibly) with Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz, also a target for Barcelona

Manchester United have been linked to Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz this summer in what is said to be a £26.3 million deal. The 22-year-old played a total of 34 times in La Liga last season, playing 2,662 minutes of football, scoring three goals and assisting six more. Barcelona has been the main club interested in Ruiz this summer according to reports with the Daily Mail reporting in April that the Catalan club holds an interest in the player, who has a £26 million (€30 million) release clause in his contract.

Sports Mole has attributed their initial report to Don Balon, who are not the most reliable source when it comes to football transfer information. I never take anything seriously when it comes to Don Balon, but this report intrigued me as an under the radar transfer, such as this one, is something that Manchester United have done before. In the summer of 2016, Jose Mourinho’s first signing was Eric Bailly, a name that many did not know at the time and the moans about his transfer were very loud at the time.

Obviously, there is nothing to say United are signing Ruiz but if Barcelona are after the player, there would be a good reason for United to get involved, especially when midfielders are what the club needs this summer with the retirement of Michael Carrick and the likelihood that Marouane Fellaini will leave the club on the expiry of his contract this summer. Reports suggested Fred would be United’s first signing this summer, which has been reported earlier today. There could be a smokescreen here, but that may not be the case.

Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo reported in April that Barcelona were interested in Ruiz, which is where the Daily Mail seemingly got their information from. It was said that the Catalan club were seeking to bring Ruiz in to replace iconic midfielder Andres Iniesta, who played his last game for the club at the weekend. It is said that Ruiz has impressed with his composed performances for Real Betis this season. The report said nothing about other teams interested in the player, which is where the surprise today comes from.

Ruiz is not a full international for Spain and has only played five times for Spain’s U21 side since last year. If United were interested in the player, I am sure they would have scouted him. If they have, it has gone under the radar and the Spanish club have either not known about it or agreed to keep it quiet. Obviously, if Ruiz is a player that would make the jump to a big team this summer, Real Betis would rather see the 22-year-old leave for a foreign club, such as United, rather than a league rival, such as Barcelona.

This is all supposition right now but I am sure the clickbait media in the UK will start jumping on this story, turning it into fact and reporting as if Fabian Ruiz was on his way to the Old Trafford club. Then if he signs for Barcelona, it will be said that he rejected the club, which gives the media a saga to run, then a negative article aimed at the club, when in actual fact, the original report, which came from Don Balon, was probably made up with no real link to Manchester United. For now, we wait an see if any credible reports come forth.

copyright: JW