Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte was one of Manchester City’s primary targets during the summer transfer window, with Pep Guardiola having the idea to partner him with John Stones in the heart of the City defence.
Reports went as far as to claim that the elegant 22-year-old was days away from a move to the Etihad Stadium, before, out of nowhere, his club announced that he had signed a new long-term deal with an increased release clause.
Speaking to RTL in France, Laporte has now confirmed that he spoke over the phone with Pep Guardiola this summer, and was very flattered by the interest of “a good person” and a “very good coach”.
After much thought, Laporte said no to Manchester City, and put much of it down to family reasons and feeling comfortable in the Basque city, where he has been based since 2010. The defender said he had weighed up the pros and cons, including playing time and his recovery from a bad injury, and admitted that it had been a tough decision to make.
Could City return for Laporte when he feels the time is right for a move? This story certainly feels like it could resurface in future, unless City move on to other targets.