FC Barcelona are reported to be leading the race against Arsenal in signing Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte as they are willing to pay for his £29.5million buy-out clause.
The 19-year-old France Under-21 member started 33 times for the Lions in the La Liga and the Copa del Rey, helping them reach the quarter-finals in the latter tournament, while fighting for a slot in the Champions League as they are currently occupying the fourth spot with three more games to go in the domestic league.
The young centre-back can also be attributed with Bilbao's fine form in defence, conceding only 38 goals in the Spanish top-flight, thus far, and coming out with nine clean sheets while he was on the pitch.
The Catalan outfit will be looking to add a legitimate stopper at the back, with converted full-back Javier Mascherano filling in for the injury-prone Carles Puyol, who is expected to leave this summer, while the Gunners are looking for a replacement for outgoing skipper Thomas Vermaelen.
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