Barcelona is reportedly interested in bringing Manchester City center-back Aymeric Laporte to the Camp Nou in a bid to strengthen the defense ahead of the 2021-22 season.
The Catalan giants have struggled defensively in recent campaigns and conceded 13 more goals than La Liga champions Atletic Madrid last season. Barca has already signed Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers from Manchester City but could go back for Laporte too, according to Ivan San Antonio at Diario Sport.
The report states that the two clubs enjoy a good relationship and have been “discussing various options in the summer market.” Laporte is a target and could be tempted by a move after losing his spot in the starting XI. Ruben Dias and John Stones have emerged as Pep Guardiola’s preferred partnership.
Barca hope to be able to use Sergi Roberto as part of any deal. The 29-year-old is “a player Pep Guardiola has always liked,” and the coach sees Roberto as a “top level addition.”
Roberto’s current contract expires in 2022 which means Barca may be willing to offload him, particularly as the club already has Sergino Dest and Emerson Royal to cover the right-back slot.
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Laporte Discusses Future
Laporte spoke about his future back in February and admitted much may depend on what happened during the season with the Citizens, as reported by Adam Booker at Sports Illustrated.
“At the moment I’m here, I’ll play today, we’ll see what happens,” he said. “I’m happy at City, I always thought I’d spend many years here. I hope that will happen. I will see what happens between now and the end of the season but for now I’m happy.”
Guardiola also addressed Laporte’s situation in April and insisted there was a way back into the starting XI for the center-back, as reported by Jamie Jackson at the Guardian.
“It depends on him, the quality is there,” he said. “[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.”
Yet Laporte ended up making just 14 Premier League starts for Guardiola’s side, and it would be no surprise if he was considering his options after losing his place in the team.
Kounde and De Ligt Also Options
Laporte is not the only defender to be linked with a Barcelona move this summer, but the club’s difficult financial position makes any big transfers tricky.
Sevilla center-back Jules Kounde has been mentioned as a Barcelona target after an impressive campaign for Julen Lopetegui’s side. However, Kounde’s release clause is set at €75 million which makes a deal very difficult, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Juventus center-back Matthijs De Ligt is also wanted at the Camp Nou and is the club’s “dream option,” according to Marca. Indeed a move this summer is seen as “almost impossible” due to the finances involved.