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Barcelona want Laporte but must raise funds

Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte / GETTY IMAGES

FC Barcelona are interested in Aymeric Laporte, but Clement Lenglet, among others, would have to leave first to make room for the Manchester City defender.

Barca have already completed the signing of Eric Garcia on a free transfer from City this summer, but according to sources from ESPN, coach Ronald Koeman would also like to add another more experienced centre-back to his squad. However, the La Liga side have six defenders in their squad and would need to offload two before even thinking about making a move for Laporte, who is currently at Euro 2020 with Spain.

In addition to Garcia and Lenglet, Barca also have Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti. Even without the addition of a new centre-back, Barca are keen to get Umtiti off the wage bill this summer. The French defender could not get into the team last season after returning from a persistent knee injury but Barca are struggling to find a club willing to take on his salary.

If Umtiti does leave, Barca would still have to sell another centre-back before thinking about Laporte, with Lenglet someone they would consider offers for. Lenglet, a €35.9 million signing from Sevilla in 2018, said earlier in June that he does not see himself leaving Camp Nou this summer.

Meanwhile, sources have said Laporte would be open to offers after falling behind Ruben Dias and John Stones at City last season. Laporte joined the current Premier League champions in 2018 from Athletic Bilbao for his €65m release clause. He has made 111 appearances for the club.

Aymeric Laporte’s price tag could also be a stumbling block for Barca, although president Joan Laporta said on Wednesday that the club will look for player exchanges to make more signings this summer. “There will be more signings, but not normal signings, given we’re not in [a good financial] condition. We will find the formula to respect the [Financial Fair Play] rules and try through exchanges, with the complicity that entails with other clubs,” Laporta said.

Barca have already signed Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero and Emerson Royal this summer and according to several sources, they will make Memphis Depay their fourth arrival of the postseason in the coming days.