Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte is looking to leave the club this summer, 90min understands, with Barcelona keen to land the Spain international.
Laporte returned from knee surgery earlier this season but has struggled to force his way into Pep Guardiola’s team. He has featured in just seven Premier League games since returning in October, with the boss favouring the likes of Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake in defence. John Stones, who is also high in the pecking order, is just returning from a hamstring injury.
Sources have informed 90min that Laporte has spoken to Guardiola about his situation and, having had it confirmed that he is no longer first choice, the 28-year-old is looking to move on from the club this summer.
Guardiola has publicly stressed that he will not keep any unsettled players at the Etihad against their well and he is prepared to sanction Laporte’s departure as a result, particularly as selling the Spaniard would help City in their pursuit of RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol – their top defensive target for the summer.
In terms of suitors, Barcelona have registered their interest in Laporte and 90min understands the player would be keen to make the move to Camp Nou, although Barça’s well-documented financial woes would make a deal incredibly complicated.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that the club want to sign a new centre-back and someone of Laporte’s profile – experienced, left-footed and comparatively affordable – would be their desired addition.
The two clubs have already spoken over the future of City midfielder Bernardo Silva – another deal which has been complicated by Barcelona’s financial situation – and now Laporte has emerged as another target.
With Laporte approaching the final two years of his contract, City are open to cashing in while they can still demand a significant fee, not least because of Ake’s emergence as a genuine first-team option.
Only Akanji has played more minutes than Ake this season when it comes to City’s defenders, with club officials keen to reward the Dutchman with a new contract to reflect his new-found importance to the team.
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