Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte has reportedly ‘ruled out’ a switch to Newcastle this summer, as he prioritises a move to Barcelona.
The Spain international has fallen out of favour with Pep Guardiola this season. Now, it is looking increasingly likely that he will be sold.
It’s no secret that Newcastle boss Eddie Howe wants to bring in some elite players, but it seems he will have to look for alternatives to Laporte.
Indeed, according to Mundo Deportivo, the Man City star has ‘ruled out’ a move to Newcastle, despite their excellent form in the Premier League.
They add that Laporte has a ‘big desire’ to join Barca, despite AC Milan and Juventus also registering an interest in signing him.
The Magpies currently sit in third place in the table and look set to be playing Champions League football next season. As a result, they are tipped to spend big in the summer.
Howe admitted in a recent interview that he will be looking to bring in several ‘elite’ signings. But now, a move for Laporte looks to be off the cards.
Laporte could join Gundogan at Barca
Laporte has made just eight appearances in the Premier League this season, significantly less than the 33 he made in the previous campaign.
In fairness, his absence from the starting line-up has been justified in Man City’s performances. They sit in second place, trailing Arsenal by two points.
But, with two games in hand, the Cityzens are the big favourites to lift yet another Premier League title.
Now, it seems Guardiola is planning for his departure. The Spanish manager is eyeing a move for ‘monster’ Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae, as he looks to bolster his defence.
Laporte isn’t the only City player tipped to leave this summer, though. Ilkay Gundogan, a key player for Guardiola over the years, could potentially join Laporte at Barca next season.
The German midfielder will be out of contract at the end of the season. As a result, he will be available on a free transfer. This is ideal for the Catalans, as they will have limited funds available to them this summer.
This is, perhaps, the only thing that makes Barca signing Laporte unlikely. The defender is under contract at the Etihad until 2025, so won’t come cheap.
Transfermarkt value the centre-back at approximately £30m. The way things are looking, though, this could be Barca’s entire transfer budget.
Another possible outcome is that Guardiola does his former club a favour by loaning Laporte to his former club for next season. This would allow Man City to get him off the books – but would reduce his eventual transfer fee.
Laporte is thought to be pushing hard for a switch to the Camp Nou, though. With that in mind, he will be a player to watch in the upcoming transfer window.