Barcelona are said to be monitoring Aymeric Laporte’s situation at Manchester City after the defender hinted he was unhappy with his game time.
The 27-year-old signed for City in January 2018 and was immediately handed a starting berth. The former Athletic Bilbao stopper enjoyed 34 starts among 35 appearances in his first full season at the Etihad. And the 2018-19 campaign ended with City claiming the Premier League title.
And he was also overlooked in Europe, sitting on the bench as City lost to Chelsea in the Champions League final. He also failed to make an appearance in either the quarter-finals or semis and doubts over his future have been raised.
Just last week the French-born star suggested it had been frustrating watching his team-mates from the sidelines.
“It’s a very different challenge because I never played less than this year,” he told The Independent. “For me it’s very different, that is difficult to accept.
“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.”
Laporte eyes big stage after Spain switch
Laporte was born in the French town of Agen and made many appearances for Les Bleus’ youth teams. But he was granted permission to switch nations as he is of Basque descent through his great-grandparents.
He will represent Spain at this summer’s European Championship. It will further raise his profile and possibly put him in the shop window for a move.
According to Sport, Barca ‘like’ the defender and would jump at the chance of taking him if City agreed. It is not known if Guardiola intends to use him more in 2021-2022 but he still has four years of his contract remaining.
There is no question that City would demand a sizeable fee for any interested suitor. They signed him for around £57m although the current pandemic means values have dropped significantly.
Laporte was touted as one of the best defenders in the game after his first season at the Etihad. He was not helped by a serious knee injury in September 2019 that saw him miss many months of action.
The centre-back still has time on his side to get back to his previous levels but it may be elsewhere.