Ronald Koeman has led the transformation of the current squad since his arrival in August, with the inclusion of young players. This January, he is expected to call up young left back prospect Alejandro Balde to the first team squad.
With the winter transfer window fast approaching, Barcelona plan to put Junior Firpo on the market. Firpo joined Barcelona in the summer of 2019 with high expectations, but has failed to make any significant contributions in the first team and clearly doesn’t seem to fit into Koeman’s plans. Barcelona plan to fill the gap on the left side by promoting Alejandro Balde, a highly promising player from the youth team, directly into first team dynamics. At the club, it is clear that Balde is a player with high potential, ready to fight for a place in the first team. Barça plan to not sign an alternative for the left side but promote the 17-year old, who continues to amaze with his impressive performances in the youth squad.
Alejandro Balde is already more than a player project. His superior performances on the left wing, owing to a great individual technique and good physique, made him start the preseason with the Barça B squad despite being quite young. He replaced Akieme, who left for Almeria, and did so well until picking up an injury against Nàstic. He suffered an ankle ailment, leaving him sidelined for about a month and a half, but he seems to be recovering quite well. The idea at the club is that once he returns to the Barça B squad and picks up pace, he enters the first team dynamics. If Firpo ends up leaving in January, Balde’s involvement with the first team would already be higher.
Junior Firpo has not been able to make a mark at Barça and the club will hear offers for him in the January transfer window, both for loan and transfer. Firpo is already aware of his situation at the club, where he has not been counted upon for anything since the start of the season by Koeman. The Dutch manager has preferred to play a right-footed player in Sergino Dest over Firpo in Alba’s absence, and hence made it clear that he does not count on Firpo for the big occasions. Inter Milan are the best placed team to sign him, with Atalanta also interested in acquiring the services of the former Real Betis left-back. The solution could arrive in January, although things are already beginning to move.
Alejandro Balde is 17 years old and could become the next Fati case originating from the Barça youth squad. Fati received a call-up to the first team squad at the age of 16 and has managed to carve himself as a regular starter under Koeman, confirming himself as one of the club’s most important assets. Balde is La Masia’s next clear bet for the first team.
The potential and projection of Balde has not gone unnoticed in Europe, with Premier League teams particularly following the player’s progress very deeply. There is interest from multiple teams across the continent, with Chelsea and Liverpool already having approached the player’s surroundings in an attempt to lure him out of La Masia. Balde is comfortable at Barcelona and understands that the club trusts him fully, having already promoted him to the Barça B squad in the preseason. Now, if everything goes as planned, Balde will soon make an appearance in the first team as a clear bet for the present and the future. With rising interest from teams across Europe, Barça would certainly want to shield the player and try to tie him down long term, making him one for the future.