Aymeric Laporte is putting pressure on Manchester City to sell him to Barcelona and a deal is “not impossible”, according to a report.
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.
According to the Barcelona-based newspaper, the centre-back is now pushing City to let him leave for the Camp Nou club. He wants the move and is “pressing” for it to happen, but knows his market value makes it difficult. Therefore, he has to make some effort himself to show his current club where he sees his future.
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.”
Barca have already taken two players from City this summer: Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia. Both men moved as free agents, whereas Laporte will require a transfer fee.
The 27-year-old is under a long-term contract until 2025, so City are under no pressure to sell. However, with Laporte now pushing for a transfer, they may have to reconsider their stance.
Given his age, he should be playing regularly in the prime of his career. With that no longer certain at City, he sees Barcelona as the ideal next step.
Financially, Barca may have to send some players the other way to bring the costs of the deal down. But relations between the two clubs are said to be good, giving all parties some hope of getting a deal done.
Roberto could be makeweight
Sport have previously reported that Sergi Roberto could be the one to move in the opposite direction.
Pep Guardiola gave him his senior debut at Barcelona and he is now a fully-fledged first-teamer. But the 29-year-old could end up moving to Manchester as a counterpart for Laporte.
Roberto can play as a central midfielder or a right-back, and would reportedly only consider leaving Barca if it was to reunite with Guardiola.
Therefore, that may be one avenue for the two clubs to explore if they are to pull off a swap deal.