Barcelona risk missing out on €65m-rated target, Ernesto Valverde to blame

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Barcelona are arguably in need of defensive reinforcements, but reports claim Ernesto Valverde could ruin plans to sign Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte.

Beyond Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique, the Catalan giants don’t have the luxury of too much depth and certainly not any long-term options given the cover is currently provided by Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen.

In turn, it’s surely a department that needs strengthening in the near future to ensure that Barcelona remain competitive in their pursuit of major trophies, but according to Mundo Deportivo, Laporte may not be the solution.

Valverde knows the 23-year-old well from his previous stint in charge at Bilbao, with the defensive ace making 205 appearances for the club since 2012 after coming through the youth ranks, while he’s represented France from U17 level through to the U21s.

After recovering from a serious injury to now establish himself as one of the top defenders in La Liga again, it seemingly makes perfect sense to swoop for Laporte as he would also suit Barcelona’s style of play with his technical quality and ability to play out from the back.

However, it’s reported that Valverde is against the idea of raiding his former club for their best players, and he’ll seemingly argue against making a move for Laporte which will open the door for other interested parties to push their way to the front of the queue, albeit Mundo Deportivo add he has a €65m release clause which could be an issue for some.

Whether the Barca hierarchy listen to his reported request remains to be seen, but on the face of it, it doesn’t seem to make too much sense as ultimately he should now be prioritising what’s best for his current employers and ensuring that his spell at the Nou Camp is as successful as possible.

Laporte would certainly help with that, but Valverde seemingly still has a sense of loyalty to Bilbao and doesn’t want to take away an important figure for them.

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