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Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte plays coy on Chelsea transfer interest

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Athletic Club v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Since his emergence as one of Europe’s best young defenders, Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte has been an ever-present name on transfer shortlists around the footballing world. In fact, earlier this year, rumours of serious Chelsea interest arose as well, though they did not progress beyond that stage as the Blues brought in Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen instead.

But two of Chelsea’s three regular starters are on the wrong side of 30, and will need replacing soon — Cahill and David Luiz will both have just two years left on their contracts at the end of the season. Laporte is one of the most highly rated young defenders in the game these days; Chelsea could do a lot worse than to sign him as a replacement.

The 23-year-old Laporte apparently has a reputation for being open and forthcoming in most of his interviews, including when quizzed about potential transfer interest, but in a recent interview with L’Equipe (via Sport Witness), instead of opening up, he decided play coy on a question about Chelsea’s rumored bid last summer.

“I can’t say, it’s confidential.”

So that possibly reads as “yes”?

Laporte, who’s yet to make his France debut, has been at Athletic since 2010, but knows that he probably has to move on (and move up) to gain the proper recognition at the international level, too.

“[Zouma] is playing for Chelsea [and on loan at Stoke City], [Kimpembe] is at PSG. I am in Bilbao, a club that may not be sufficiently valued in France. Here, it does not prevent some Spanish players to go to their selection. It seems that [Adil Rami’s club] Marseille is superior to the Athletic Bilbao. Everyone has his opinion. If it’s lower, it’s not much lower.”

“If I had the same level at another club, I would more likely to be in France’s squad.”

-Aymeric Laporte; Source: L’Equipe via Sport Witness

Athletic have a strong policy of selling only at release clause prices, which in Laporte’s case is an eye-watering €65 million, though in today’s market it’s almost impossible to gauge whether that’s an outrageous price or just a slightly overpriced one. Perhaps we’ll find out next summer if Chelsea, or someone else, thinks that’s a reasonable amount to pay or not.

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Would you be willing to pay €65 million for Aymeric Laporte?

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  • 56%
    Hell yeah!
    (531 votes)
  • 34%
    Nope.
    (322 votes)
  • 9%
    ...who?
    (92 votes)
945 votes total Vote Now