Athletic, no thanks, they don’t want to know anything about Valverde, knockout

Athletic Bilbao have pulled out all the stops to provide a stellar reinforcement to their defensive axis. Despite the emergence of young Aitor Paredes, who left a very good impression, and the presence of Dani Vivian and Yeray Alvarez fully consolidated in the elite, Ernesto Valverde wanted a new central defender to arrive to compensate for the loss of Inigo Martinez, whose contract ended in June, and he ended up joined Barça.

For this reason, they tried their luck with Hugo Guillamon, who lost his place in Valencia and did not play at all this season, as happened to him in the last stretch of the previous one. But they refused to let him go out on loan and strengthen La Liga rival EA Sports. However, the Basques’ main priority was to bring back one of the most promising players to emerge from the ranks in recent memory. We mean Aymeric Laporte.

Aymeric Laporte/ Photo: Europa Press

He achieved incredible popularity and quickly became one of the fans’ idols and one of the standards of the project. He managed to awaken the interest of some of the most important organizations on the continent, such as Barça, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich. but he eventually left San Mames to join Manchester City in January the request of Pep Guardiola.

The English paid more than 60 million euros for the defender, now 29 years old, who at the time became the most expensive sale made by the Blancos, a record that would be broken a couple of years later by Kepa Arrizabalaga when he signed for the Chelsea club. And he enjoyed an impressive early season in the Premier League, becoming one of the best players, making a perfect eleven and leading the rearguard at the Etihad Stadium.

But everything changed radically for the Spanish-French after the arrival of Ruben Diaz. He gradually lost importance in the schemes until he found himself as the last option in the Catalan manager’s rotation, as was proven last year when he was surpassed by the former Benfica player, as well as Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake or John Stones. This summer, after Josko Guardiol landed, he could not play, so he decided to leave.

A situation that Athletic wanted to capitalize on by getting Laporte healthy. But in the end it was impossible and eventually joined Al-Nasr of Saudi Arabia, where he shares a dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Alex Telles and Marcelo Brozovic. As the Spain international explained, he was not interested in returning to Bilbao, leaving El Tsingurri knocked out.

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