Why Barcelona should launch a move to sign Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte
According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo (h/t The Sun), Barcelona are interested in making a move for Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte in the summer, if the two-year European ban on the Cityzens is upheld.
Laporte started out at the academy of SU Agen in France and spent a year within the Aviron Bayonnais youth setup before joining the Athletic Bilbao youth team in 2010. The centre-back made his first-team debut for the Basque outfit in 2012, at the age of 18 and went on to make 222 appearances, before Manchester City came calling in January 2018.
Since linking up with the Cityzens, the £120,000-a-week Laporte has been one of the best defenders in England and Europe, playing important roles in their Premier League triumphs in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. The ongoing campaign, though, has been a frustrating one for the Frenchman, with injuries keeping him out on the sidelines for lengthy spells.
Meanwhile, Barcelona haven’t been firing on all cylinders this season. Having sacked Ernesto Valverde following their Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid, the Catalans are starting to find their feet under new boss Quique Setien.
Yet, Barcelona should be in for a crucial transfer window. The lack of a proper backup to star striker Luis Suarez is something that should look to address at the earliest.
But along with that, a new centre-back would also be the need of the hour for the Blaugrana. Barcelona have let in 31 goals in their 27 La Liga outings this term – only five goals less than they shipped in throughout the last season. Only Real Sociedad have conceded more (33) among the current top six teams in the Spanish top-flight.
Barcelona have Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as their first-choice centre-back pairing at the moment but the former is 33 years of age and needs to be slowly phased out of the first-team with an eye on the future.
Moreover, backup option Samuel Umtiti has endured another injury-riddled season. The Frenchman’s troublesome knee has been a cause of concern for a while now and they could be looking to offload him this summer. (h/t The Sun)
This would open up a spot in the centre-half department at Camp Nou and Barcelona should look to fill that vacancy by signing Laporte.
The 25-year-old has played in Spain for the majority of his career and is well-acquainted with the demands of the La Liga. A left-footed centre-back with solid ball-playing abilities, he would be a like-to-like replacement for Umtiti and is also a year younger than the Barcelona man.
Having played at Manchester City for two years now, Laporte has had enough exposure to the Champions League as well.
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Barcelona’s defence hasn’t been all too convincing this season. Moreover, with Gerard Pique not getting any younger, it is time for the Catalans to put in a long-term succession plan for the veteran.
To that end, they should look to sign Laporte. The Frenchman has experience in La Liga and has impressed in England with Manchester City. He has the capability to add quality and depth to an area where the Catalans need reinforcements.