According to the Athletic, English champions Manchester City have already identified Villarreal defender Pau Torres as a potential replacement for Aymeric Laporte this summer.
Aymeric Laporte, 27, enjoyed limited starting opportunities for Manchester City for the entirety of the 2020/2021 campaign.
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This was largely down to the form and consistency of Ruben Dias and John Stones at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s backline—a partnership that played a key role in helping the Sky Blues achieve a third Premier League title in the last four seasons.
However, it led to the downfall of Laporte in the pecking order, with the recently-capped Spanish international starting a measly 14 Premier League games. Plus, the left-footed centre-back didn’t play a single minute in any of the Cityzens’ last five Champions League games.
The 27-year-old is understood to be frustrated at Manchester City following a season of inadequate game time. Laporte’s situation at City hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Barcelona keen to take him back to Spain.
But should City sell Laporte this summer, Guardiola would be left with only three centre-backs in Ruben Dias, John Stones and Nathan Ake. That being said, the Athletic claim the English champions will not allow Laporte to leave without signing a worthy replacement.
Pau Torres, 24, is one possible option for Guardiola’s club should Laporte decides to end his time in Manchester. Torres has established himself as one of the finest defenders in LaLiga and is already on the radar of City’s cross-town rivals, Manchester United.
The Spaniard, who won the Europa League trophy last month, has a release clause of €65 million in his contract with Villarreal. Currently with the Spanish squad for the Euros, the 24-year-old central defender has seen his stock rise in recent months.
Now, though, if Torres heads out of Estadio de la Cerámica, City could challenge Manchester United for his signature. But any move for the Villarreal star will depend on the situation of Laporte, who is likely to partner Torres in Spain’s defence for their Euro 2020 opener against Sweden on Monday.