Manchester United were linked with a move for Atletico Bilbao’s teenage sensation Aymeric Laporte but both the player and club have publicly quashed any prospect of him leaving for anything less than his €36 million release clause.
The 19-year-old Frenchman has broken through into Bilbao’s first team this year and has already been rewarded with a new contract that includes his new release clause.
Although Barcelona interests Laporte, he has said that he has no intention of leaving Bilbao unless his release clause is paid.
“Barca’s interest in me is flattering,” he said according to Inside Spanish Football.
“I’ve dreamed of playing at a club like that since I was a kid, but at the moment I’m not thinking about those kind of things. 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.”
United tried and failed to sign Ander Herrera this summer because we were unwilling to meet his full release clause and it would be best advised in this situation that Moyes doesn’t bid for Laporte unless he will pay the full amount, which is unlikely given his age.
Laporte’s importance to Bilbao was hailed by manager Ernesto Valverde and he held the belief that Laporte was happy at the club right now which he is, and also admitted he felt that €36 million was a lot of money.
He 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.”
That is indeed a lot of money, let alone for a 19-year-old defender in his first full season and for that sort of price, United should look elsewhere.