Aymeric Laporte is reportedly eager to make the switch from Athletic Bilbao to Real Madrid in the summer.

Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Aymeric Laporte is set to snub a move to the Premier League. The Athletic Bilbao defender is instead keen to opt for a transfer to Real Madrid in the summer transfer window.

Laporte joined Athletic Bilbao’s youth setup in 2010 and rapidly progressed through the ranks at the Basque club before making his first-team debut in 2012. Since then, he has established himself as a key figure in Bilbao’s first-team setup, playing almost 200 times for the senior side despite being all of 23.

2016/17 saw Laporte go from strength to strength as he made 43 appearances across all competitions for Bilbao, as he displayed great physical and technical abilities to help his side maintain one of the best defensive records in La Liga.

His consistent performances haven’t gone unnoticed though, as some of the biggest clubs in Europe have registered an interest in signing him. Manchester City, in particular, have been eyeing Laporte for a long time now and are reportedly set to make a move for him this summer, along with Chelsea.

Could Laporte line up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo next season? (Photo courtesy - Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Could Laporte line up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo next season? (Photo courtesy – Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

With City struggling defensively for large parts of the campaign, Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his central defensive options. Laporte’s addition can potentially help the City manager create a long-term partnership at the heart of his side’s defence, alongside last summer’s recruitment John Stones.

The report states that Laporte, too, had been keen on making the move to the Etihad Stadium, and the transfer looked destined to happen, until Real Madrid’s triumph in the Champions League final. The win on Saturday made Los Blancos the first side to defend their Champions League crown and earned an admirer in Laporte.

The 23-year-old is, thus, ready to snub the advances from City once again to instead make the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. Indeed, Real Madrid are rumoured to be in the market for a centre-back too, with Pepe set to leave the club in the summer transfer window.

The Portuguese’s departure would open up a spot in the Real Madrid first-team setup – a spot that Laporte can assume next season.

With club captain Sergio Ramos on the wrong side of 30, the Frenchman becomes an appealing prospect for Zinedine Zidane, as he can forge a long-term partnership alongside compatriot Raphael Varane at the heart of the Real Madrid defence.

Zidane, too, is keen on adding Laporte to his squad this summer, and it looks like a transfer may be in the offing. It will now be interesting to see if Manchester City can do anything to steal a march on Real Madrid with both the club and the player keen on a summer move.

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