An update has emerged regarding Barcelona’s interest in Manchester City beast Aymeric Laporte.
According to Spanish outlet Fichajes, the La Liga giants are interested in signing the City defender to replace ageing veteran Gerard Pique.
The report claims that City’s Spanish international is one of five centre-backs the Catalan club are considering as they weigh up their options ahead of the January window.
Txiki Begiristain must avoid a glaring Manchester City mistake following this update on Laporte. The Cityzens chief must ensure that the centre-back remains at the Etihad Stadium and does not depart for Spain, as he is an important member of Pep Guardiola’s squad.
The 27-year-old has returned to the fore this season alongside Ruben Dias and is looking like the Laporte of old after overcoming his injury issues. The defender was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2018/19 campaign, but only started 28 games combined in the subsequent two league seasons as he struggled with form and fitness.
John Stones emerged as the main partner for Dias at the back last term, with the pair ultimately being named in the PFA Team of the Year for their exceptional performances. However, Laporte has hit back this season and started three of City’s four Premier League matches ahead of Stones.
Back in January, City manager Guardiola lauded the former Athletic Bilbao defender and claimed that he has “special quality”. He told The Guardian: “It depends on him, the quality is there.
“[He has to] be in top form and have his mind open. He’s the best left-sided defender [we have], he has special quality with the ball. He has to be focused to come back in the best condition possible and he will get his minutes. After, it depends on his performance like it depends on the form of everyone.”
The Spaniard has been showing off his quality in the Premier League. He has averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.57, with City keeping three clean sheets in his three appearances. Laporte even found the back of the net in the 5-0 win against Norwich, showing that he can also be a threat at the top end of the pitch.
This is why Guardiola would surely hate to see him leave to join Barcelona. He currently has three centre-backs who have been included in the PFA Team of the Year in recent seasons and that offers him an incredible degree of quality in his squad, which is useful when competing across multiple competitions – an asset he will not want to lose.
Therefore, Begiristain must reject any advances from Barcelona and make sure that Laporte is still a Manchester City player at the end of the January transfer window.