Manchester United are allegedly considering a move for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, according to Manchester Evening News.
Reports suggest Louis van Gaal has placed the Frenchman on a list of potential targets along with Everton’s John Stones and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.
The 21-year-old has made 116 appearances for Bilbao since 2012 and recently signed a contract with the Spanish side that includes a £36.5m buy-out clause but contracts rarely stop transfers from happening, they just make them inherently more expensive.
Varane, Stones and Laporte are three of the best defensive prospects in world football, so it’s a given that United are going to be linked with them given that it’s widely known we need a new centre-back to partner Chris Smalling. As good as Daley Blind has been there, he isn’t a natural centre-back.
With Euro 2016 coming this summer and Kurt Zouma likely to miss the competition due to injury, Laporte will be hoping for a call-up to the France squad but it is an incredibly competitive squad, so he’s got his work cut out.
As for United trying to sign him, his release clause means nothing as Bilbao are not obliged to sell him at that price and we found out with Ander Herrera how hard it is to sign a player from the Basque club.
We’d have to go in with an offer they can’t refuse and whether we’d be prepared to spend that much is a different ballpark and as Ed Woodward delayed signing Herrera for a year over just a few million, there’s every chance that wouldn’t be the case.