The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential transfer destinations for Aymeric Laporte as he looks to leave Manchester City this summer.
Manchester City just continue to go from strength to strength under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. The UEFA Champions League might still be eluding them, but the Citizens remain the most dominant team in England, despite some obvious chinks in their armour.
That has largely been a result of building a squad that is capable of having two separate world-class starting elevens. However, an unfortunate byproduct of creating such a unit is several unhappy players who are not content with sharing game-time. That is a brewing situation at the Etihad, with a number of Manchester City players reportedly agitating for a summer exit.
One such player is Aymeric Laporte, who, as per Duncan Castles on The Transfer Window Podcast, wishes to call it quits at Manchester City. The reputed journalist has said, “A player you may not see playing for Manchester next season, certainly it’s his wish not to be playing for them next season, is Aymeric Laporte.”
“Laporte, I am told, is pushing Manchester City to allow him and to facilitate his exit, and my guidance is he is making it difficult for City in the sense that if they felt they could retain him as the third-choice centre-back, use him to pressure Stones and Dias, be ready if one of them were to get injured or one of their form to regress, Stones being the more likely candidate there, and Laporte was to behave himself and get back into the team, they would probably go along that route. But the sense I am getting is that Laporte is kicking up enough of a fuss that City are being pressured to find a solution to this.”
Indeed, Laporte, who has been nothing short of excellent since arriving from Athletic Bilbao, has lost his place to John Stones and is now a rotation option. Keeping this in mind, it looks like he could well be on his way out of Manchester City before the summer transfer window slams shut. With that being said, The Hard Tackle lists three potential destinations for the 27-year-old Spanish international.
A club that holds a long-standing interest in Laporte, Barcelona had been hot on the trails of the 27-year-old much before he even departed La Liga to join Manchester City, before he was even close to being in contention to become a Spanish international.
The continued interest from Barcelona makes a world of sense, seeing as Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet are both surplus to requirements at Camp Nou. If both the French defenders end up being offloaded this summer, Barcelona’s defensive unit will be bereft of a left-footed centre-back.
So, while Ronald Koeman will still have four central defenders at his disposal in Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza, it is important to note that Pique is already in the twilight of his career. Keeping all that in mind, Laporte is definitely a viable target for Barcelona, with the player reportedly open to making the switch to Camp Nou as well.
However, his price tag could be a major bone of contention for Barcelona, seeing as his valuation is being mooted to be in the region of €60 million. At a time when their financial situation is dire, shelling out such a sum on one player might be out of the question for the Blaugrana, although it will be interesting to see if they can raise the funds necessary to land the 27-year-old.
Another club that has been heavily linked with Laporte in recent times. Real Madrid, like bitter rivals Barcelona, are in need of signing a centre-back this summer, and desperately so, with Spanish international Laporte certainly an option worth considering.
For years, the heart of their defence was one area that appeared to be in no need of being bolstered, with Eder Militao the only significant arrival in the last half a decade or so. However, that has all changed in a jiffy this summer for Real Madrid.
Sergio Ramos was the first long-time servant to call it quits in the Spanish capital after an impasse that lasted ages. The departure of the veteran Spanish international was quickly followed by the exit of Raphael Varane, with Manchester United reaching an agreement with Real Madrid to sign him this summer.
So, it goes without saying that despite the addition of David Alaba, Real Madrid need another central defender unless they impose their faith in Jesus Vallejo. And while they have some issues of their own, unlike Barcelona, it might be possible for Real Madrid to afford Laporte, seeing as they have raked in a considerable sum on Varane’s sale. Probably the favourites in pursuit of the 27-year-old.
The last presentation on our list is another club to have been linked previously with Laporte. However, in the ongoing transfer window, Juventus have not really been in the market for a centre-back, with the links with Laporte coming quite some time ago.
Having said that, with Merih Demiral being heavily linked with a potential summer exit, Juventus could well be in need of a new centre-back. Not to mention, Giorgio Chiellini is approaching the end of his glittering career, while Leonardo Bonucci is well into his thirties as well.
Such a situation leaves Matthijs de Ligt as the only long-term option for the Bianconeri, and in a defender like Laporte, they will sign a player who can hit the ground running. At 27, he can provide the best years of his career to Juventus, although his price tag might be a stumbling block for the Serie A heavyweights.
Nevertheless, Laporte is a centre-back who can greatly improve Juventus’s defence and bring a lot to the table with his ability while building up play from the back. The Italian giants’ ability to shell out the required sum, though, remains questionable.