Real Madrid are reportedly weighing up a move to sign Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao this summer.

Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Zinedine Zidane has expressed an interest in signing Aymeric Laporte in this summer’s transfer window. Real Madrid are, thus, set to make a move to land the Athletic Bilbao defender.

Laporte joined the fabled Athletic Bilbao academy in 2010 and made rapid strides in the youth setup before making the senior grade in 2012. Over the last five years, the player has managed to establish himself as an instrumental figure for the Basque club.

In fact, At 23, Laporte has already racked up close to 200 appearances for Bilbao. This past season, the youngster was arguably one of the best defenders in La Liga as he played a key role to help his side keep a highly impressive defensive record.

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)

His exploits have caught the eye as well, with several top clubs across Europe registering an interest to sign him. Manchester City have been heavily linked to the player for well over a year now, but their interest seems to have cooled off for now. Real Madrid, though, are set to make a move for him.

Los Blancos saw long-serving Portuguese centre-back Pepe call time on his spell at Santiago Bernabeu this summer, making his way to Besiktas. The veteran defender’s departure leaves Zinedine Zidane with Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho and Jesus Vallejo as his central defensive options.

Ramos and Varane are expected to be the first-choice pairing at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. But, the duo have been highly prone to injuries, which is perhaps why Zidane has turned his attention towards Laporte, especially considering Nacho is only a squad player.

The role of Vallejo, who recently returned from his loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt, is not clear yet, although he has been touted to have a big future at the Bernabeu. Laporte, though, brings several years of experience at the top level and his experience makes him a readymade replacement for Pepe.

At 23, the Frenchman still has his best years ahead of him. With Ramos on the wrong side of 30, Laporte can potentially forge a long-term partnership with Varane at the heart of the Real Madrid defence long after the veteran Spanish defender has called it a day.

Thus, Real Madrid are set to make an official bid to land Laporte this summer. It now remains to be seen what their initial offer is, and if Bilbao let go of a player who has been highly integral at San Mames for the last few seasons.

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