Scout Report – Aymeric Laporte
Manchester City are reportedly close to completing a move for Athletic Bilbao central defender Aymeric Laporte. After receiving a major setback in his pursuit of Alexis Sanchez, Pep Guardiola is understood to be focusing elsewhere. He has been looking for centre-backs this January, and Laporte is one of the names to grace his list of targets. To land him though, the club will have to pay a sum of €65million, which is the player’s release clause.
The 23-year-old does seem like an interesting prospect and a player like him could thrive in the Premier League. Let’s take a closer look at his profile.
Born in 1994 in Agen, France, Laporte embarked on his football career by playing in the youth teams of SU Agen and Bayonne. In 2010, he joined Atheltic Bilbao’s development squad and quickly rose through the ranks to establish himself as one of their most promising individuals. He eventually got promoted to the reserves and then made his first-team debut in 2012. Under then manager Ernesto Valverde, Laporte was a default starter and he thrived in the set-up at the Spanish club.
His scintillating performances saw him earn a contract extension in 2015. The defender was also a crucial part of the Bilbao team that won the Supercopa de Espana in the same year, which marked the club’s first silverware in 31 years. As far as his international career is concerned, Laporte has appeared at every level for France, right from U17 to U21.
Laporte boasts of incredible aerial strength and that could come in handy for City. His passing accuracy remains unparalleled and he is quite adept at holding on to the ball as well. The player can slice right into an opponent’s attack and intercept the ball to prevent them from going forward. His positional awareness is top-notch and Laporte can read the game in a quite mature manner. Also, the young Frenchman is capable of retaining his focus throughout a game, thus resulting in effective decision-making on the field.
The chance to move to Manchester City will undoubtedly be a major one but it remains to be seen if Laporte would let go of all that he has built at Bilbao in order to move to a foreign league and start from the scratch. That said, he might be looking to broaden his horizons and to that extent, moving to City can truly help develop his career. Furthermore, City are in need of greater depth at the back and signing Laporte could certainly help them do that and so much more.