Barcelona Eyeing Up Move For Manchester City Defender: Why The Citizens Can’t Afford To Let Him Leave

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Manchester City at Bramall Lane on January 21, 2020 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

According to a recent report by Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo, Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte has been the subject of interest from European giants Barcelona, as they plot a move to acquire the Frenchman’s services in the summer. The report suggests that Manchester City could be forced into selling some of their key names at the end of the season, owing to the European ban that was handed to them by UEFA for breaking the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules a few years ago.

It has been claimed that the Citizens are hopeful that they can get the ban overturned, but the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing chaos around the world could mean that the earliest hearing date is scheduled somewhere around August.

Also, an earlier related report from the Daily Mirror claimed that the City staff had already updated the first-team members about the situation at hand and that they were reassured about playing in the Champions League next term.

What Does Laporte Add To This Manchester City Side?

The former Athletic Bilbao centre-half was always highly rated from a young age, but fortunately for City, wasn’t snapped up by any of the other European giants before 2018. The Frenchman was 23-years-old when he initially signed, and over the last couple of years, he’s gone on to become an important player in Pep Guardiola’s supremely well-stacked roster. Having been signed for a fairly considerable fee, the expectations that were placed on him were monumental.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 22: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City speaks to Benjamin Mendy of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester City at The King Power Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Despite all this, at this point, it’s safe to say that Laporte is the best centre-half option that City possess. Although stars like John Stones were also expected to reach the same level in due course, the benchmark that the Frenchman has set at the Etihad seems to be effectively insurmountable. The 25-year-old is extremely comfortable dealing with aerial balls into either box – be it while defending or attacking.

Why Manchester City Cannot Afford To Let Laporte Leave?

A quick look through last season would highlight just how strong this City side actually was, and the only major difference between last year and this season was the fact that Laporte picked up an unfortunate injury this time around. Although fans would’ve expected the likes of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi to fill in the void efficiently, Guardiola was forced to move Fernandinho back into a central defensive role.

In Laporte’s absence, the Citizens have struggled to maintain clean-sheets and even ended up losing seven fixtures from their first 28 matches of the season. It seemed to become more evident by the week that Laporte’s presence had a telling impact on the City back-line. All things considered, it must be conceded that the Frenchman is the best defender City have right now, and selling him to one of their European rivals, irrespective of the price, would be an utter disaster.

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