Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte has a €42m release clause and is happy to join Manchester United if the full fee is paid.
Earlier in January, reports went as far as to suggest a deal was already 80% done to bring the highly rated 20-year-old to Old Trafford. However, Marca in Spain also credit Real Madrid with an interest him so there is likely to be competition for his signature.
Due to their policies of only bringing in homegrown talent, Athletic Bilbao are a club renowned for having release clauses in the contracts of their players so as to protect themselves from losing any player cheaply.
Man United had to buy Herrera out of his contract last year to secure a deal for the Spaniard whilst other players they have sold including Javi Martinez also had their release clauses triggered, so Bilbao makes it particularly difficult for their players to leave for anything less than the full value.
For a 20-year-old, €42m is a substantial amount of money but he is considered one of the best young defenders playing in European football at the moment. Inflated player valuations in the January transfer window don’t help in terms of not overpaying for players but with the Euro struggling in exchange rates, it could be the perfect time strike.
Louis van Gaal is more than likely going to want a defender who can lead by example as his Man United side have missed a leader figure in defence and although Laporte lacks in match experience, he has an excellent head on his shoulders.
With less than a week left in the transfer window, movement would have to be extremely fast with Laporte because Athletic Bilbao are likely to dig their heels in so as to delay any transfer, much like they did with both Herrera and Martinez.
In this scenario, money wouldn’t be the issue but rather the negotiations of paying a release clause to a Spanish club, something which United learned is difficult to do having signed Herrera.
To offer our readers more insight into Laporte, we’ll be bringing you interviews with Spanish football experts this week on him to find out more about the 20-year-old defender, how he has played this year in La Liga and whether he is worth his €42m release clause.