Barcelona tracking Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte

Barcelona are hoping to take advantage of Manchester City’s Champions League ban to poach star defender Aymeric Laporte, according to El Mundo Deportivo.

The report states that the defender, who celebrates his 26th birthday in May, is keen to be playing in Europe’s elite club competition and that gives the Blaugrana an advantage in his pursuit.

City have been banned from playing in European football for each of the next two seasons – due to breaching Financial Fair Play rules – by UEFA and despite the club’s intentions to appeal the decision, they are not scheduled to be in the Champions League next year.

Laporte joined City from Athletic Club Bilbao in January 2018 when activating his €65m release clause while he extended his contract at the club the following year.

Barcelona are said to have wanted to sign the central defender since 2014 but they did not trigger his clause due to the strength of the defensive partnership between Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano.

However, the club are now keen to strengthen their defence as Pique is now 33 and there are continued fitness and form issues surrounding Samuel Umtiti.

Tags Aymeric Laporte Man City Manchester City