Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte has refused to deny that Chelsea wanted to sign him in the summer.
Speaking in an interview with French publication L’Equipe (via Sport Witness), the French Basque was asked whether the Blues did make an offer before the start of the season. The 23 year old replied:
“I can’t say, it’s confidential.”
Bilbao’s policy is to only sign and play Basque born players, and Laporte’s heritage has been questioned due to his very thin links to the region. The defender was born in Agen, France but qualifies very tenuously as a Basque via his great grandparents.
The player has however stayed loyal to Bilbao so far, having signed a new contract in June last year, keeping him at San Mames until at least 2020. With the La Liga side in a strong position contractually, it’s likely any interested team will have to meet his buyout clause.
Laporte has a release fee of €65m (£58.4m) but it doesn’t seem that the Blues or any other club have been willing to match it so far, despite the centre back being very highly rated.