Report: Aymeric Laporte to Snub Barcelona for Real Madrid
Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte is reported to have snubbed various advances from Barcelona in favour of eventually joining La Liga champions Real Madrid - despite previously having worked with current Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde.
Madrid and Barça have both endured opposing starts to their current league campaigns. With the high-flying Catalonians holding a perfect record of three wins in three matches.
However, Spanish outlet Don Balon report that 23-year-old Laporte would rather move to the Bernabeu than Camp Nou.
It's been widely-reported that Barca's Lionel Messi has been nagging the club's board to sign the promising centre-back, but advances from Barcelona have been to no avail over the last few months.
Laporte's current deal with Bilbao runs out in 2020, and the Frenchman has a reported release clause of £57m - which, in this day and age, could figure to become somewhat of a steal for a very talented young centre-half.
He is said to be keen to link up with French compatriot Zinedine Zidane rather than former Bilbao boss Valverde and is waiting in hope that a a move to the Spanish capital materialises.
Laporte has made a total of 199 appearances for Bilbao, where he came through the club's heralded youth system. However, he could soon find himself competing for a starting place with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez, if he gets his wish.