Barcelona are reportedly set to be snubbed by Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, who will instead seal a £57m move to Real Madrid.
The Catalan giants are seemingly continuing their transfer strategy of trying to lower the average age of their squad, and Laporte, 23, certainly fits the bill for that and many more reasons.
Widely considered one of the top young defensive players in Spain, the Frenchman has a big future ahead of him and it would appear as though it may well be in the capital with Real Madrid.
According to Don Balon, as re-reported by The Sun, Zinedine Zidane wants to take his compatriot to the Bernabeu, while Laporte himself has turned down several offers from Barcelona as he wants to join the reigning La Liga and European champions.
It’s even added that Lionel Messi was attempting to convince the defender to join him at the Nou Camp, but it’s not going to be enough as Laporte is eager to join Real in a deal the report claims to be worth around £57m.
Meanwhile, Marca also report that Philippe Coutinho will not be pursued by Barcelona in January, but the Brazilian playmaker will be back on their radar at the end of the season.
That gives us all a break from the transfer saga after a summer-long struggle for Barca in trying to prise him away from Anfield with Liverpool refusing to budge and sell their prized asset.
It’s reported that Coutinho’s appearance in the Champions League for the Reds in the draw against Sevilla on Wednesday night essentially ended all interest for now as he’ll be cup-tied for the rest of this season were he to move in January.
In turn, Marca claim that Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri will now be the top option to bolster Ernesto Valverde’s squad in January, as Barcelona look to add quality in midfield before potentially launching a fresh attempt for Coutinho next summer.