Aymeric Laporte has reportedly agreed to join Barcelona next summer from Athletic Bilbao after the clubs reached an agreement over a transfer fee of €35 million, according to the Mirror.
The Frenchman has been one of the stand-out performers of La Liga over the last few years, thus attracting interest from several heavyweight clubs across Europe.
The news comes as a major blow to Manchester United’s plans as the Premier league giants have been scouting the player for months.
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Barcelona are currently serving a transfer ban which prevents them from fielding any new players signed this summer until January.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils are in the transfer market for a top quality centre-back after missing out on Mats Hummels and Sergio Ramos, who both decided to stay with their clubs.
Nicolas Otamendi was also reportedly close to a United deal before choosing to join arch-rivals Manchester City.
United have been using Chris Smalling and Daley Blind at the heart of defence so far this campaign, but Louis van Gaal is still sceptical the pair might struggle against bigger oppositions, as proven in their recent defeat to Arsenal.
The Catalan giants signed Thomas Vermaelen to partner Gerard Pique at Camp Nou last season but prolonged periods of injury-stricken spells have prompted them to look elsewhere.
Laporte is well-accustomed to La Liga so should be able to settle quickly at Barcelona.
They are already familiar with the Frenchman's quality following his instrumental performance in Bilbao’s Spanish Supercup win over Barcelona earlier this term.
After recognising the undoubted talent they had, Bilbao acted swiftly to offer a new deal to Laporte in June to extended his contract up to 2019.
Los Leones also included a release clause of €50 million in the contract but it seems €35 million will be enough for the Spanish champions to seal the deal.
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