Saudi Arabian clubs have been using the lure of the petrodollar to snap up a series of European football’s biggest names this summer and Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte could be the latest star to seek out his fortune in the Middle East.
According to several reports published this morning, Manchester City have accepted an undisclosed bid for the Spanish defender from Al-Nassr, paving the way for the 29-year-old to discuss personal terms with the Pro League outfit.
Laporte arrived at Manchester City from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018 in a deal believed to be worth £57m and though the classy centre-half established himself as a mainstay in Pep Guardiola’s team shortly after, last season he became more of a peripheral figure.
With Manual Akanji, Nathan Ake, John Stones and Ruben Dias already ahead of him in the pecking order at City, the summer arrival of £77m Josko Gvardiol threatened to limit Laporte’s involvement even further and now the stalwart looks set to seek out a new challenge elsewhere.
Aymeric Laporte to Al Nassr: latest update
Al Nassr have already signed Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, Seko Fofana and Alex Telles to their roster this summer, though their chequebook is still open and Aymeric Laporte is the latest household name on their radar.
Arsenal had been linked with a move for Laporte, though it is believed City were reluctant to enter negotiations with a direct Premier League rival. Last summer, the Cityzens allowed Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus to join the Gunners, and it almost cost them their title.
Instead, City opted to accept an offer from Al Nassr for Laporte’s services, though the Saudi Arabian club must now thrash out terms on a contract with the Spaniard.
Laporte is believed to be open to the move which should help contract discussions to go smoothly. The 29-year-old started just 11 times in the Premier League last season and a more prominent role in an exciting project could be an attractive option for the defender.
Laporte to join star-studded Al Nassr team
Cristiano Ronaldo became the poster boy of the Saudi Arabian Pro League when he joined Al Nassr on a free transfer last year, though the Portuguese icon will be rubbing shoulders with some of the game’s other stellar names at the Knights of Najd this season.
Sadio Mane – who endured a taxing campaign with Bayern Munich in 2022/23 – joined Al Nassr for €30m earlier in the summer while cultured midfielder Marcelo Brozovic made the switch from Champions League finalists Inter Milan for €18m.
Brosovic will be joined in the middle by highly-regarded ball-winner Seko Fofana, who jetted in from Monaco for €25m, while experienced fullback and Brazilian international Alex Telles was a €4.6m signing from Manchester United.
The aforementioned Sadio Mane scored after just four minutes of his Pro League debut for Al Nassr on Monday, though his team ultimately lost 2-1 to Steven Gerrard’s Al Ittifaq.
Al Nassr’s defensive lapses in that throwaway defeat bring into focus their decision to target Aymeric Laporte as their next recruit. The reliable defender would add class and composure to the team’s brittle backline.