Manchester City are reported to have drawn up a three-man transfer wishlist to replace the unsettled Aymeric Laporte – with Arsenal target Ben White firmly positioned right at the top.
Laporte looked to be a brilliant buy for City when he joined in January 2018. He helped carry them over the line to win the Premier League that season and was a regular as they retained it the following year. But in August 2019, a serious injury put his progress on hold. The defender has struggled to replicate his previous levels ever since.
Upon his return from injury, he completed the 2019-20 season with 15 Premier League appearances. But he lost his place last season, with John Stones overtaking him in the pecking order alongside summer signing Ruben Dias. Laporte played only 16 times in the top flight in 2020-21.
It was still enough for him to earn a place at Euro 2020 after switching allegiance from France to Spain. And now it seems he wants to continue his club career in his adopted homeland.
Laporte has already indicated in public that he is eyeing a move away this summer. He said towards the end of May: “It’s a very different challenge because I never played less than this year. For me it’s very different, that is difficult to accept.
“It’s good [Stones’ form]. He was not playing during the last two years but he’s come back now. I’m happy for him to enjoy his football. I didn’t get benefits because I played less, but it’s good.
“Personally, I’m happy with what I’ve done this season. When I’ve played, I’ve played really good. Of course you can always improve but I am happy with all that. I hope I can do a very good Euro, then we’ll see what can happen.”
According to reports last month, Laporte is wanted by Barcelona with those rumours now starting to gain serious traction.
Indeed, Diario Sport claims the defender is pushing hard to move on. As such, it’s now of the belief that City have reluctantly agreed to sanction his sale.
Furthermore, City have also drawn up a list of potential replacements as they look to fill Laporte’s hole in the squad.
As per transfer journalist Duncan Castles, that list is headed by England defender Ben White.
The Brighton man, who is expected to cost £50m, has been heavily linked with Arsenal in recent weeks. The England defender has broken his silence on the speculation and is seemingly keeping his cards close to his chest.
Now according to Castles, City are ready to gazump the Gunners for White. He claims City have already held ‘preliminary discussions’ over a prospective deal for White in news that will seriously dent Arsenal’s hopes.
City also looking at Kounde, Torres
City though have also shortlisted two more defenders in case they miss out on White. As per Castles, the Cityzens are also casting their eye over Jules Kounde and Pau Torres.
Sevilla defender Kounde is a name familiar to City fans with the Blues monitoring him closely for some time. They also considered his signing last summer before instead plumping for Dias.
Howevr, it could be a case of second time lucky for City, though the LaLiga side’s €80m exit clause could prove problematic.
The Blues are also reportedly monitoring Torres’ situation at Villarreal. He’s been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United as they seek a top-level partner for Harry Maguire.
Torres – who has a €50m exit clause – has cemeted his reputation as one of Spanish football’s best defenders in the past year.
And while United are keen, Raphael Varane is believed to be their top target – and that could yet let in City.