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Barca target Junior Firpo tipped to become the next Ramos

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Barcelona target Junior Firpo could end up emulating Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos’ career, says his old Real Betis coach Juan Jose Romero.

After watching him play a big part in Spain’s Under-21 European Championship title this summer, Barcelona have allegedly made signing Firpo a top priority in the transfer window.

The Dominican Republic-native has already built himself a reputation as one of La Liga’s finest left-backs, despite only debuting for Betis’ first-team back in February 2018. His versatility has also earned praise, with Firpo able to operate as a centre-back and midfielder for Los Verdiblancos.

Therefore, Barcelona are keen to add the highly-rated Firpo to their ranks for the upcoming season. Apparently, they plan to begin talks with Betis shortly.

At 22, it’s no wonder why the Catalan giants are so keen as Firpo still has plenty to time to take his game to a whole other level.

And the youngster’s old coach, Romero, appears to be thinking along the same lines as well.

“He is the footballer who most impressed me in his first training session,” Romero told Goal.

“He looked like a beast of a footballer from the very first moment. He has the formidable maturity and personality which give him the chance to go far, he has a bullet-proof character, he is a defender of great quality and has confidence in himself.

“That confidence can be a problem sometimes because he believes in himself a lot but it is a trait which could be positive if he handles it correctly. Sometimes he looks cocky and that leads him to make very visible mistakes.

“But he could end up having a career similar to that of Sergio Ramos. He also came to Real Madrid and the national team as a full-back, to end up in the middle of defence and, even though Junior doesn’t have the defensive power of Ramos as a centre-back, neither did Ramos have the attacking threat Junior is showing.

“If he keeps his head down we are talking about a left-back with great physical conditioning, quick, good in the air and with good technique. It is very hard to find players with so much ability,”

The Spain U-21 international had been touted as a potential successor to Marcelo at Real Madrid before the club’s interest faded.

Nonetheless, Romero thinks big clubs have no reason to hesitate when it comes to signing Firpo.

The now-AD Ceuta coach added: “I would tell any big club not to think twice over Junior, he has been in the first team less than a year and a half and you just have to look at his progression.”

Firpo managed three goals and five assists in 29 appearances for Betis last season. He remains under contract to the club until June 2023.

REGGIO NELL’EMILIA, ITALY – JUNE 27: Houssem Aouar of France and Junior Firpo of Spain in action during the 2019 UEFA U-21 Semi-Final match between Spain and France at Mapei Stadium – Citta’ del Tricolore on June 27, 2019 in Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)