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Louis van Gaal looking to lure Laporte to Manchester United

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is reportedly chasing Athletic Bilbao star centre back Aymeric Laporte, who is one of the best young defenders in the world, as he seeks to strengthen his rearguard for the remainder of the season, with the club 13/8 with Coral to finish outside of the Premier League top four this term.

The 20-year-old is said to be edging closer to a £25m move to Manchester and certainly has the talent and potential to replace Rio Ferdinand in the heart of the United defence. A boyhood fan of the Red Devils, Laporte has become a mainstay in the Bilbao back four and has earned three call-ups to the French national squad.

News surfacing from Spain claim the deal is “80 per cent done”, though the defender has been closely monitored by both Chelsea and Arsenal, with Tottenham and Bayern Munich also expressing an interest recently.

Van Gaal and United chiefs are also tracking Germany World Cup winner Mats Hummels, with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin identified as a back-up option, though Laporte fits the bill and certainly fits the club’s strategy of buying and developing young players.

Bolstering his defence is recognised as a priority by the Dutch boss, with the team conceding 21 times this season, the highest amount of the top four clubs. He has been left frustrated by his current crop of defenders’ injury troubles and failure to gel effectively.

However, there is a lot of potential there and if Van Gaal lands his top targets, having Laporte, Hummels, summer signing Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans to choose from will make his side a formidable force, considering the amount of attacking talent they have.

Laporte has made 81 first team appearances for Bilbao, across all competitions, netting twice in La Liga, and crucially has Champions League experience. Good news for United fans is that he wasn’t part of the squad which beat the club in both Europa League legs in the knockout stage in 2012. He has a bright future at Old Trafford if this move materialises