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Why does Pep Guardiola have his eye on Junior Firpo? 

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616   //    11 Sep 2018, 03:26 IST

Atletico Madrid v Real Betis - La Liga
Atletico Madrid v Real Betis - La Liga

Dominican Republic-born Junior Firpo has been attracting a lot of interest from Manchester City according to several media reports in both England and Spain.

But what is it about the Real Betis man that has the champions of England circling?

With Benjamin Mendy the only specialized left-back at Manchester City, it seems the club has identified Firpo as appropriate cover for the World Cup winner.

Both Fabian Delph and Ukrainian youngster, Oleksandr Zinchenko filled in during Mendy's injury lay-off last season, but neither are natural left backs.

Firpo burst onto the La Liga scene last season with Real Betis, making his debut in February. Since then he has never let go of the left wing-back slot. With Firpo in the team, Betis jumped 4 places, finishing the season strong enough to qualify for European football for the first time since their promotion from the Segunda División.

Firpo has continued this season where he left off last and was rewarded with a call-up to the Spanish U21 national team. The defender played the full 90 minutes in Spain's 3-0 victory over Albania as the Spanish remained unbeaten in 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification.

Although born in the Caribbean, the player has dual citizenship with Spain and is the only Dominican Republic-born player to ever play in the La Liga. If Firpo does indeed join the Manchester club, it would be Pep Guardiola's second consecutive January signing from the Spanish top flight after snapping up Bilbao's Laporte earlier this year.

With the resurgence of Betis under Sporting Director Lorenzo Serra Ferrer and head coach Quique Setién, Firpo will not come cheap. Especially since they struggled to balance the demands of League and European football in their last attempt of continental football. Betis will be determined to do well, as they have seen their cross-town rivals Sevilla absolutely dominate the Europa League.

Junior Firpo and his Spanish U21 teammates will be in action again tomorrow as they take on Northern Ireland's U21 offering.

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