Barcelona have drafted a plan to sign Manchester City’s castaway centre-back, Aymeric Laporte, in this summer’s transfer window.
Barcelona have hit the ground running in the transfer market after signing Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers from Manchester City. The club also exercised its buyback clause for Emerson Royal and are now closing in on personal terms with Memphis Depay, who is currently a free agent. The Catalans had also been negotiating a deal with Georginio Wijnaldum but have now become second-favourites for the Dutchman after Paris Saint-Germain offered him a better contract.
The Blaugrana have identified another colossal signing in the shape of Aymeric Laporte, according to Sport. The Manchester City centre-back has fallen down the pecking order under Pep Guardiola who has preferred using the likes of Ruben Dias and John Stones over the former Athletic Bilbao defender. Despite playing a crucial role in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Premier League winning campaigns, Laporte faces an uncertain future at the Etihad Stadium.
The Spanish centre-back is looking to leave the Sky Blues for greener pastures and a move to Camp Nou could help him revitalize his career. The Blaugrana are in desperate need of centre-backs as the likes of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti have been sub-par for the past couple of seasons. Although Barca have already signed Eric Garcia, however, the 20-year-old is not yet first-team quality to displace the likes of Lenglet or Gerard Pique.
Aymeric Laporte would be a massive signing to help rebuild Barcelona’s struggling defence. The Spaniard will certainly be slotted straight into the starting eleven and is also a natural leader that can lead the backline. Apart from his leadership qualities, Laporte is an excellent passer of the ball and can help construct attacking sequences by building from the back. He is also defensively sound and is an aerial threat from set-pieces.
The only stumbling block for the Catalans in signing the 27-year-old would be meeting Manchester City’s asking price. The Sky Blues signed Laporte in January 2018 after triggering his 65-million-euro release clause with Atheltic Bilbao. Barcelona were interested in signing the centre-back then but were against the idea of paying his release clause.
If the Catalans cannot match Man City’s asking price, the alternate option is to offer Sergi Roberto in a swap deal. The 29-year-old is valued highly by Pep Guardiola who gave him his Barcelona debut against Real Madrid in 2011. Guardiola prefers having versatile players in his squad that can play multiple positions and Roberto fits the role.
He can play as a right-back, midfielder and even as a right-winger. However, at Manchester City, it is unlikely that Sergi Roberto would break into the starting eleven. The La Masia graduate would have to compete with the likes of Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker in the right-back position.
The midfield already consists of the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne- leaving no room for Roberto, whereas there is no shortage of quality on the right-wing either with players such as Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez taking massive strides.
The Spanish international has not enjoyed much continuity last season due to frequent injuries and now faces an uncertain future after the signing of Emerson Royal from Real Betis. Roberto is willing to leave Camp Nou this summer if he is to reunite with his former coach, Guardiola.
Barcelona will look to expedite their negotiations with Manchester City over the transfer of Aymeric Laporte in a player plus cash swap. However, Barca might have to wait until the Euro 2020 is over to finalise personal terms with Laporte who is currently on international duty with Spain.