Updated 01:55 PM EST, Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Manchester United Transfer News & Rumors: Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte for £25m?

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Louis van Gaal now has an answer to his weak backline.

In what the Daily Star describes as a "shock move", 20-year-old Bilbao member Aymeric Laporte could be closing a deal with Machester United, slowly closing the door for Arsenal and Chelsea, both of which have been reported to want the center-back aboard.

Citing a Spanish report, the Daily Star claimed that the £25-million transfer deal for a longtime fan is "80 percent done,"

With stellar defensive acumen, the athlete "has become a mainstay of the Bilbao defence and is tipped to earn a call-up to the full France squad after impressing at youth level," said the report, explaining his status as among the best defensive weapons in the soccer world.

Considering the transfer news as among the most prominent on newspapers and websites, Mirror said Laporte seemed all set to reinvigorate the Red Devils' defense department, shutting the door on top teams Chelsea and Arsenal, plus Tottenham and Bayern Munich.

He is an excellent addition to a "fragile" center-back manpower, Sports Mole said.

The Bleacher Report agreed, noting: "The Red Devils have suffered in the defensive department in the 2014-15 season due to inconsistent play and a multitude of injuries."

Squawka reported that Van Gaal's options at the backline were limited to "youngsters and midfielders," and wants that to end, even if it would take a huge sum this January -- German defender Mats Hummels is also being sought as a top target, while Diego Godin is a back-up choice, per the Daily Star.

The Bleacher Report said that fans would expect players like Hummels as shoo-in candidates for the spot, but the young player, although not yet at that level, is almost there.

He has also done well against soccer superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at age 19, the report observed. He was also crucial in Bilbao's run in the La Liga and Champions League.

He is so good that the sole reason that he's still with the French U21 lineup is his contribution to that team, per Bleacher Report.

"Rather than push him through to the senior squad straight away, France have elected to keep him with the U21's to hand him as much playing time as possible and boost that team's chances for some silverware," the report explained. "It's a similar strategy as what Belgium have done with their star youngsters, Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet."

Laporte is also quick, forward-thinking, the report said of the Frenchman from San Mames. With a 57-percent win rate, he is a first-choice defender for his current team, added another Squawka report.

"Laporte is such a player. He has the potential to make the club better from the day he arrives and be a regular starter for the next decade," said the Bleacher Report.

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