Arsenal reportedly battle with Bayern and Barcelona for £30m defensive starlet

Arsenal have been linked with a swoop to sign Athletic Bilbao's £30m-rated young defender Aymeric Laporte.

The Gunners ended their nine-year trophy drought with the recent FA Cup final win over Hull City, but with fans hoping to be competing for more trophies in the coming season, manager Arsene Wenger is now expected to splash the cash this summer in order to improve the squad.

One of the latest names to be linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium is Athletic Bilbao youngster Laporte, who burst onto the scene this season with a string of fantastic displays for the Basque outfit. With Arsenal's interest now the subject of much speculation, here are three questions surrounding a potential move.

  1. What does this mean for the future of Thomas Vermaelen?

    After falling behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order, there are plenty of speculation that former Ajax man Vermaelen would look to leave the Emirates Stadium. The Belgian international understandably wants first team football, and he is already struggling to find it at Arsenal – and the situation could only worsen for him if they sign Laporte.

  2. Can Arsenal beat Bayern Munich and Barcelona to his signature?

    With so many impressive performances for Bilbao, Arsenal aren't the only team to be interested in signing Laporte. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also vying for his signature, and with both sides regularly competing for the biggest trophies in world football, they could be able to see off any competition from Arsenal for his services.

  3. Should they pay £30m for a player who will sit on the bench?

    The aforementioned partnership between Koscielny and Mertesacker in the heart of the Arsenal defence proved to be fairly solid last season, and the duo are expected to continue that next term too. They do need depth behind them, and whilst Laporte could develop into one of the top centre backs in the world, paying £30m for someone who could be a backup for two years seems excessive – especially given how Arsenal need to strengthen elsewhere.

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