"If Al-Nassr had not made a move, Aymeric Laporte would be with us now"

"If Al-Nassr had not made a move, Aymeric Laporte would be with us now"

| @AlNassrFC

Athletic missed out on bringing the defender home because they could not enter bidding war

Aymeric Laporte came very close to returning to Athletic Bilbao. The Spanish international, whose role at Manchester City had been significantly reduced over the course of last season, was considered by the Basque side as a replacement for Íñigo Martínez. This was confirmed by club president Jon Uriarte.

"We have always conveyed Athletic's interest, if at some point it were possible, in having him back, and he has always let us know that, in a hypothetical case, he would love to return to play here. This summer we have worked along these lines," said the Athletic chief. 

"We were there, but we were unlucky that Al-Nassr came along. We couldn't get into a bidding war with a Saudi Arabian team, we knew we would lose. If Al-Nassr didn't turn up, the player would be with us," he admitted.

Laporte was not the only player sounded out to replace Íñigo Martínez. Mikel González, Athletic's sporting director, mentioned that his second choice was "a player who can play both at full-back and centre-back," but that he finally decided to sign for "a Champions League team." The description matches César Azpilicueta, who joined Atlético Madrid this summer.

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