The rumour season is well and truly upon us, and it looks a dead cert that Manchester City are going to be a major player. Pep Guardiola’s arrival at the club is a boost for rumours, and if the European media are to be believed, Manchester City’s team will be unrecognisable when the season begins.
A deal to sign Ilkay Gundogan has already been agreed, and Aymeric Laporte is supposed to be next, although the Bilbao media say Athletic are still trying to convince him to stay a while longer. Very reliable local newspaper El Correo published a story on Tuesday saying this is a crucial week for Laporte’s future.
Athletic know Manchester City are set to trigger the player’s €50m clause, say El Correo, and offer him roughly €7.5m per year after tax, a figure which triples his current wages. The highest Athletic have ever offered a player is the €5m a year, after tax, they put forward to Fernando Llorente as his contract was running out, something he rejected. Llorente left and it’s fair to say his form on the pitch was never quite the same.
There’s still hope, Athletic are a special club for the few eligible to play for them, and El Correo say Laporte has agreed to sit down and listen to what the board have to say. If he does leave this summer, then he wants it to be in an ‘elegant’ manner. There should be no pushing this one, it’s delicate and emotional, see how it develops.
Claims saying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to becoming a Manchester City player came from Italy on Tuesday and then, as is the way, Sky Sports suddenly claimed to have the inside line a while later. In Germany, there’s not much fresh information, and certainly no panic that Aubameyang is on the verge of leaving Borussia Dortmund.
Ruhr Nachrichten, Dortmund’s local reliable and non-sensational newspaper, cover the Sky claims but say an Aubameyang exit is ‘highly unlikely’ this summer. Der Westen were unable to add anything, and even Bild, Europe’s top selling newspaper because it’s the most tabloidy tabloid, haven’t gone big on the story yet.