While every single member of the ‘traditional’ top four (the one with Manchester City, not Liverpool) seem in need of central defenders, only one team has managed to get one of their targets.
It’s a bit early to know whether or not Eric Bailly will be a success at Old Trafford under José Mourinho, but the new Manchester United signing has looked relatively calm and composed during his first two outings in preseason.
Another team who came very close to getting one of the players on their wishlist were Manchester City, as they saw Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte slip from right under their nose as the young Frenchman signed a new contract with the Liga BBVA side.
L’Equipe dedicate a big chunk of one of their pages to the 22-year-old on Monday and explain exactly why the youngster decided to snub a move to the north of England in favour of a stay in sunny Spain (as lovely as it sounds, it wasn’t the weather).
The French newspaper repeat a few things we already know, including the detail that Manchester City had the deal pretty much wrapped up (they’d agreed to pay the player’s release clause), and it’s only the player’s decision that threw everything out of the window.
L’Equipe state that despite his new deal being considerably less than what the Premier League side were prepared to pay him (€4.5m/year compared to €8m), the player preferred ‘stability’ at this stage in this career rather than a new adventure, knowing he’s still got plenty of time for a big transfer in a few years time.
They also make it clear that Pep Guardiola’s plan for Manchester City was to field a centre-back duo of Aymeric Laporte and John Stones for next season.
Well, with one now unavailable, guess all that’s left is for the blue side of Manchester to convince the blue side of Liverpool to let their young defender go.
That won’t be easy.