Rumours abound that Manchester United are on the verge of completing the signing of Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte.
Valued at around £25m by the Daily Star’s crack team of soccer specialists, the Frenchman is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders on the planet.
If you made a bet on the back of everything you read in this particular red top, you’d be well on the way to the poor house, but their statement that Laporte’s transfer to the Red Devils is ‘80 per cent done’ has prompted the bookies to go 3/10 about him moving to Old Trafford before January 1st 2016.
Louis van Gaal is reportedly looking to bolster his defensive options after having all of his senior first-choice centre-halves incapacitated for one reason or another at various points of the campaign so far.
But after declaring that he is only in the market for top quality talent, are they making the right move pursuing the Bilbao prospect?
The stats indicate that they are:
Only once this season have the Basque outfit managed to win a match the Frenchman hasn’t featured in – a Champions League dead rubber at Shakhtar.
Domestically, where Los Leones are struggling this season, he averages 2.4 tackles per outing, as well as 3.9 interceptions.
For a centre-half, his mean passes per match figure is abnormally high at 53.8 too.
This number tops the effort managed by Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria in the Man Utd ranks.
In addition to making plenty of passes, Laporte tends to find his man, with a completion rate that stands at 79.2 per cent.
The solitary non-Spanish native in the Athletic ranks would, therefore, be the ideal recruit for a team looking to dominate possession and be able to build their attacks from defence, as Man Utd are.
Boasting a wealth of top-tier experience, in addition to playing in both mainline European competitions as well as at every international level up until Under-21 and versatile enough to slot in at left-back in emergency circumstances, the 20-year-old would be an excellent acquisition.