Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde isn’t willing to part with young starlet Aymeric Laporte, insisting that for him to leave the San Mames, suitors must pay his €36m buyout clause.
United are just one of many European clubs interested in the French u21 defender, with Barcelona, PSG and Arsenal also believed to be monitoring his progress.
Laporte, only the second French man to play for Bilbao following in the footsteps of French legend Bixente Lizarazu, has impressed with his performances at center back but can also perform at left back. Earlier this season he signed a new deal as a reward for his showings as well as to ward off interest from Europe’s top teams and it appears Athletic club’s decision has paid off with the number of clubs said to be interested in the 19 year old.
Laporte himself insists he is happy in Basque country. Asked about interest in him from other clubs, he replied:
“I’m very happy in Bilbao, anyway, they would have to pay the €36 million release clause. Athletic has given me everything and I am very happy and playing well here.”
And it is a sentiment echoed by manager Valverde who said:
“Laporte is happy at Athletic, he will continue playing at Athletic for a long time. He’s playing great this season and is a wonderful player. I really like him and hope he is here for a long time, personally that is what I believe will happen and what I think he wants. Clubs are watching him because he is very young and talented. For me, €36 million is a lot of money.”