Manchester City are ready to swoop in for Athletic Bilbao defender Ayermic Laporte.
With the title all but out of their sights, Manchester City are making plans for the summer with the hope of preparing a squad that will be competent to fight on all fronts next season. According to Goal.com, Laporte is one of the players the Citizens are targeting.
The Frenchman has been linked with a big-money move to Manchester United and Arsenal in the last few months as his impressive displays have caught the eyes of the Premier League giants. Despite being only 20, Laporte is an established member of the Bilbao team and has made over 70 appearances for the Basque side since breaking through the team in 2012 under then coach Marcelo Bielsa. The Frenchman has 26 league appearances (and 35 in total) for his side this season and is an undisputed starter under Ernesto Valverde.
His importance to the team made them raise his release clause from a 36m to a 42m last summer, with this in place until 2017.
The centre-back is one of the most impressive youngsters in football at the moment and it is telling that most pundits, in their assessment of the player, have claimed that Laporte doesn’t have any significant weaknesses in the game. Just 20, he has plenty of experience already and the fact that he can also operate as a left-back makes him an even more attractive prospect.
According to the report, Manuel Pellegrini rates the player highly and has had scout Rob Newman watch him in recent times. Director of football Txiki Begiristain is also a “fan of the Frenchman”.
Manchester United have been interested in the player and there were many reports around January stating that Louis van Gaal wants the defender in the summer despite any competition the club is likely to face.
However, it now seems that City are going to step up their interest in the player and persuade him to choose them instead.