It has been a busy beginning to the summer transfer window for Barcelona, already completing the signings of Sergio Agüero, Emerson Royal, and Eric García. Now, another Manchester City player is being linked to a move to Catalunya this summer as the Catalan club look to continue their rebuild.
Aymeric Laporte wants to join his former teammates Agüero and García, with a report from Sport stating that the center-back is putting pressure on his current employers in Manchester to force through a move.
At the age of 27, the former French and now nationalized Spanish center-back was a colossus at the heart of the backline for Athletic Club de Bilbao. Coming up through the B team, he racked up an impressive 161 appearances and made himself a household name during his six years in the Basque Country.
With current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola clearly favoring a backline pairing of Rúben Dias and John Stones, Laporte is not happy with the playing time he has received. With a total of only 2,249 minutes spread out throughout the entire season, a player of his caliber, age, and experience needs more playing time.
This is not to suggest that his time in Manchester has been a failure; rather he seems to be a victim of circumstance. After picking up a series of long-term injuries, Guardiola went to the market to find a replacement and Laporte has had a hard time establishing himself in the first 11 since then.
It is a similar situation to the reasons that led to Eric García returning home on a free transfer. While Laporte’s transfer wouldn’t be free, arranging a deal would be complicated, but not impossible, despite the financial situation Barcelona find themselves in.
The relations between the two clubs are clearly strong; Barça president Joan Laporta and Guardiola both recently attended a charity golf tournament in Barcelona. Furthermore, both clubs would be open to the possibility of player exchanges to help get a deal over the line.
Laporte has matured into a very complete center back under the tutelage of Guardiola. When considering how porous Barça have been at the back this season and the fact that both Clément Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti are being linked to moves away from the Camp Nou, Ronald Koeman could use a left-footed CB with the sort of experience and poise Laporte possesses.
It is extremely early in the operation so expect to hear more rumblings around this in the coming days. That said, it is clear that both Manchester City and Barcelona are open to doing business this summer and this might be the next saga in an increasingly dizzying summer for the two European giants.
Stats via Transfermarkt | Article by Jordan Young