Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Manchester City Have Squashed Speculations On The Centre-Half Amid Barcelona Rumours: Right Call from Guardiola?

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Pratyay Maitra
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There have been rumours of Barcelona’s interest in Manchester City centre-half Aymeric Laporte. But according to the Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, the Citizens have decided to retain his services beyond the ongoing January window. The France-born Spain international was not happy last season after losing his place to John Stones. However, he has regained a starting status this term alongside Ruben Dias in the heart of the backline.

The 27-year-old defender completed a staggering £57m transfer from Athletic Bilbao back in January 2018. He was instrumental to City’s Premier League triumph in 2018-19, but a knee injury next season restricted his minutes resulting in only 20 appearances across competitions.

Barcelona, on the other hand, have roped in Ferran Torres for £55m. The cash-strapped giants took out a loan to tie down the attacking ace and they have to make further arrangements to bring Laporte at Camp Nou. His current deal at the Etihad expires in the summer of 2025 and with Man City squashing all speculations, the Catalans stand little chance of snapping him up in the forthcoming future.

The Citizens failed to keep hold of Eric Garcia who left for Blaugrana last summer. He rejected improved terms and opted to run down his contract in order to return to his boyhood club on a Bosman. It did not make much of a difference though in the star-studded City camp who are well equipped with ample central defensive options.

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte in action against Arsenal
Manchester City’s French defender Aymeric Laporte (L) vies with Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2022. – – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Why Manchester City Have Made The Correct Call By Retaining His Services

Apart From Laporte, Dias and Stones, Nathan Ake has been utilized sporadically since his £41m transfer from relegated Bournemouth and the financial supremacy of the Middle East-backed outfit has seen them dominating the English game in recent years. Moreover, the aura of Pep Guardiola has transformed them into serial winners and the club, therefore, would back his decisions to maintain the on-field masterclass.

City, meanwhile, are way ahead of closest rivals Chelsea and Liverpool in the Premier League race. They should defend the title unless any late slip-ups and the gaffer is expected to stick with his preferred central defensive pairing to maintain the momentum.

Although the owners have injected enough cash over the years, the Skyblues are yet to conquer the prestigious Champions League silverware. They ended up being the runners-up last season following a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea and the experience of Laporte would be crucial in order to achieve the extra mile in Europe.

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