Aymeric Laporte appears to be nearing the exit door at Man City – with a move to Barcelona reportedly on the cards.
The Spanish defender has seen his playing time diminish throughout this season. Laporte missed the start of 2022/23 due to recovering from knee surgery in June, only making his first appearance of the campaign in October.
However, even when fit, he has not had a consistent run in Pep Guardiola’s side. The 28-year-old has made just eight Premier League appearances this season (via Transfermarkt), and 19 in all competitions.
Most recently, in the Champions League, Laporte only saw 20 minutes of action across City’s two games against Bayern Munich.
He is one of Guardiola’s “Cup” defenders, though. Laporte has played in all but one of City’s FA Cup games, in addition to starting all three League Cup fixtures. But this is not enough for a player entering his prime, so Aymeric Laporte would like to leave Man City.
Per Relevo, his preferred destination is La Liga giants Barcelona. The Spaniard would reportedly be willing to take a pay cut in order to secure a move to Camp Nou. This may also be a necessity, due to the financial constraints that Barca work with nowadays.
Another factor is that Laporte could end up with the same agent as Xavi – a useful connection to broker a move.
Should Aymeric Laporte leave the Etihad, then Man City will search for a replacement. Fortunately, the club already has two options in mind.
Who will Man City bring in if Aymeric Laporte leaves?
Reports in Italy suggest that one of Napoli’s key players is high on City’s radar. Centre-back Kim Min-Jae is the defender in question, with CalcioMercato suggesting that he is a very real option for the Premier League holders.
Kim has emerged as a top defender in 2022/23. He has been a solid piece in Napoli’s back line that has conceded just 21 Serie A goals this campaign.
The South Korean international also has a highly appealing release clause. Kim could be available for just €50 million – a steal in today’s market. However, Man City are not alone in their pursuit of Kim Min-Jae. In fact, bitter rivals Man United are among the teams that may join the race for his signature.
Even then, with Napoli on the cusp of a Scudetto, Kim might prefer to remain in Italy for another season.
Man City thus have other defensive transfer targets in mind. For instance, Josko Gvardiol is another player who has many suitors across Europe, City included. Recently, Manchester Evening News has suggested that bringing Gvardiol to Manchester could be more straightforward than initially thought, too.
Both Liverpool and Spurs, who have been monitoring the RB Leipzig defender, have allegedly “cooled their interest” in Gvardiol. The likes of Real Madrid may still be waiting in the wings to make a deal, though.
Currently, Man City have the pursuit of a treble to deal with first and foremost. But still, the summer may still hold some excitement as Pep Guardiola prepares to update his squad.
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