The president of the Athletic Club realized that Laporte was close to signing with the Bilbao team
The Spanish international was considered a replacement for Íñigo Martínez
Aymeric Laporte was close to returning to Athletic. The Spain international, whose role at Manchester City was significantly reduced last season, was considered by the Bilbao side as a replacement for Íñigo Martínez. This was confirmed by Jon Uriarte himself, the club’s president.
“We have always expressed Athletic’s interest, If it were ever possible, I would have this player, and he always let us know that in the hypothetical case he would like to play here again. This summer we have been working in this direction,” assured the Athletic president.
The signing was imminent, but fell through after Al-Nassr emerged. “We were there, but we were unlucky that Al-Nassr showed up. We couldn’t get into a bidding war with an Arab team, we knew we would lose. “If Al-Nassr doesn’t show up, the player would be with us,” he admitted.
Laporte was not the only footballer interviewed to replace Íñigo Martínez. Athletic director Mikel González mentioned that his second option “a player who can act as both a winger and a central defender“but that finally decided to sign”a champions team“. The description fits César Azpilicueta, who landed at Atlético de Madrid this summer.