Manchester City star Aymeric Laporte is reportedly attracting interest from Real Madrid amid the rise of John Stones and Ruben Dias' formidable partnership.
Laporte was once regarded as Pep Guardiola's most trusted central defender but the 2020/21 season has unfolded in a manner in which very few predicted.
The Frenchman's struggle for form combined with injury and coronavirus complications have paved the way for Stones to re-establish himself in the starting XI, and he's capitalised on the opportunity alongside the £65m summer signing Dias.
The birth of City's new-look defensive duo has forced Laporte onto the fringes of the first-team squad in recent months, though Guardiola's decision to start him in three of the last four league games suggests he's firmly on the comeback trial.
An increase in first-team involvement hasn't prevented rival interest from emerging, however, with Real Madrid reportedly keeping a close eye on developments at the Etihad Stadium.
Indeed, according to a recent report from the Daily Star, Los Blancos want to bring Laporte to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The report also claims that the La Liga giants would need to offer a fee in the region of the £57m City paid for Laporte in 2018 to secure his signature.
GIVEMESPORT's Jack Saville says...
While Laporte has endured his worst season in a City shirt to date, it would be foolish to sell him to Madrid even if they offered a fee well in excess of his £54m Transfermarkt valuation.
For the first time under Guardiola, the current league leaders appear indomitable in defence.
Laporte hasn't been a central figure in the club's sudden rise in defensive solidity, but in a squad that's competing for an unprecedented quadruple there's no doubt he'll rise to prominence once again.
With the versatility to slot in at left-back and deputise in the absence of Dias or Stones, as he did for the former during the domineering 3-0 win over Spurs on Saturday evening, Laporte is a player who can serve multiple purposes in this side and belongs in the world-class bracket when he's at the peak of his powers.
It would surely take an extraordinary offer from Real Madrid for City to even begin to consider offloading a player of Laporte's quality and influence.News Now - Sport News