As another summer transfer window comes into view, silly season can officially be announced!
The time when all manner of transfer speculation is rife, and most of it, arguably, not worth the time in reading.
The inherent need from supporters worldwide to have 24/7 coverage of their team can often lead to spurious information for the sake of filling up column inches, and that’s as damaging for the club as it’s possible to be.
How many times do we see club media officers, managers or even players themselves having to deny the existence of negotiations, which have often been fabricated by journalists at the outset.
In any event, some rumours are credible, and one of those appears to be a potential player-plus-cash deal for Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte.
The left-sided centre-back would appear to be surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium these days, after the emergence of Ruben Dias and John Stones’ renaissance.
It’s true that the first choice pairing for Pep Guardiola have been monsters throughout 2020/21, with Dias a valid recipient of the Premier League’s Player of the Season award.
However, that doesn’t mean Laporte has turned into a bad defender overnight. Far from it in fact.
At 27 years of age, he has years of experience of top-flight football in his locker, including in La Liga, and is coming into what would be regarded as his peak years.
As a left-sided centre-back too, he is a particularly precious commodity, and an obvious upgrade on Clement Lenglet.
Lenglet, for all of his attributes, was far too error-prone during the past season to be a considered a regular starter moving forward.
Whilst his sale isn’t out of the question, it would be harsh on the Frenchman, who should be given time to rediscover his best level.
Laporte, perhaps in a swap deal with Sergi Roberto - surely the finest piece of business Joan Laporta will do this summer if it happens - can slot seamlessly into the back four in Lenglet’s stead.
Decent centre-backs certainly don’t come around too often, and Barca supporters will remember only too well the problems that the club had when trying to replace Carles Puyol.
Whilst not quite a gift horse given that funds will be expected to change hands as well as Roberto going in the opposite direction, Laporte’s hire will pay for itself in the long run.
Comfortable in possession, he can bring the ball out from the back with ease and has a superb short and long passing game.
A tough tackler who is calm, quick and decent aerially too, it’s hard to think of a better fit at this point in time.