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Despite the 2012/13 season proving to be a difficult one for Athletic, with fall-outs between the players and manager Marcelo Bielsa hindering their progress, Laporte managed to finish the year playing 16 games in all competitions, and impressed throughout.

” Jack Grealish reacted as all Aston Villa supporters would to news that Birmingham City are being deducted nine points. Blues breached the EFL’s profitability and sustainability regulations and have been docked points as a punishment, with Garry Monk’s side set to drop well down the Championship table as a result.

It will leave Birmingham just five points above the relegation zone — talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 22, 2019 /**/ /**/ Having been sitting comfortably mid-table on 50 points, Birmingham are now only five points ahead of the bottom three, and their recent woeful form suggests a relegation battle is on the cards over the final weeks of the season. Blues have lost each of their previous four matches without scoring a goal, with the Second City derby earlier this month the second game of that shocking run of results.

LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS gossip Man United news live: Dutch ace wanted as new right-back, West Ham star on radar gossip Liverpool news live: Salah ‘rejects ?150million exit’, Ajax set Ziyech price latest Man United target Dutch defender, Spurs to sell Rose and sign Sessegnon review Women’s World Cup: Netherlands breeze past Cameroon, Canada beat hapless New Zealand gesture Amazing reason Marta pointed to her boots after scoring opener for Brazil royal return AC Milan appoint club legends Boban and Maldini in new roles at the club ‘i was fed up’ The reason why Chelsea midfielder Jorginho nearly quit football latest Arsenal transfer news live: Top target ‘not for sale’, Ziyech to cost just ?30m GOING NOWHERE Bournemouth send firm response to Arsenal over Ryan Fraser interest London bound?1xbet Arsenal target Dennis Praet agent confirms interest in player CLINICAL Miedema nets brace to become Netherlands’ record scorer in Cameroon win STAYING PUT Gonzalo Higuain will see out his contract at Juventus, agent confirms That match hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons as a Birmingham supporter invaded the pitch and punched Jack Grealish in the back of the head.

Grealish got the last laugh, however, as he scored the winning goal and then saw the supporter, later named as Paul Mitchell, jailed for the assault. LIVE on talkSPORT There are six live commentaries across the talkSPORT network this week. Find out what they are and where to hear them, below…

England vs Czech Republic (Friday) – talkSPORT Walsall vs Barnsley (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2 Shrewsbury vs Portsmouth (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2 Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2 San Marino vs Scotland (Sunday) – talkSPORT 2 Netherlands vs Germany (Sunday) – talkSPORT 2 And Villa’s local hero had another jab at Birmingham upon confirmation they are being docked points. Clearly seeing the news on social media platform Twitter, Grealish ‘liked’ a twitter announcing Blues’ punishment.

1 Grealish later ‘unliked’ the tweet Grealish ended up ‘unliking’ the tweet, as confirmed upon later checking his Twitter account. While Birmingham drop down to the lower reaches of the Championship table, Grealish is hoping to fire Villa back into the Premier League.

Dean Smith’s side currently sit in the final play-off place after 38 matches, with an intense fight going on to win promotion to the top flight. ” ” 1 Aymeric Laporte is being linked with Man United, Arsenal and FC Barcelona This season has been one of incredible success for Athletic Club. The Bilbao-based side are currently sitting in fourth in La Liga, on course for a Champions League spot, and at the heart of their organised, dynamic play under Ernesto Valverde has been highly rated centre-back Aymeric Laporte.

With Man United, Arsenal and FC Barcelona all said to be looking at the France-born Basque, talkSPORT’s Transfer Spotlight examines him in detail… Name: Aymeric Laporte Date of birth: 27 May, 1994 Birthplace: Agen, France Position: Centre-back Club: Athletic Bilbao International appearances: 3 (France U21) What’s the latest? Laporte has started 18 games for Athletic this season, and recently earned a place in La Liga’s ‘team of the first round’ over the likes of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos.

Despite still being only 19 years old, his consistency has made him one of Athletic’s strongest players this season, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed. For the last week he has been regularly linked with FC Barcelona, and today, AS have added Man United and Arsenal’s names to the mix. With a €36m buyout clause and a contract running until 2018, it won’t be easy to wrestle him from Athletic’s grasp. Did you know?

1) Though born in Agen (roughly 84 miles from Bordeaux), Laporte meets Athletic’s Basque-only criteria due to spending time in the youth academy of Basque side Aviron Bayonnais FC, based in the French-Basque city of Bayonne, to which he moved as a child. He also has Basque great-grandparents. 2) Laporte’s spell at Aviron Bayonnais was so brief that some have claimed Athletic used the side as a way of making sure a non-Basque player qualified to play for the club.

Some conspiracy theorists have gone one step further and even claim that he never played for Bayonnais at all, due to the absence of the club on his French Football Federation profile, which instead says he spent nine years at S.U Agenais in his birth town of Agen before joining Athletic. It is worth noting however that the profile also states that he signed for Athletic in 2009, when Athletic’s own website says he joined them from Bayonnais in 2010, so the absence of Bayonnais from the French Football Federation’s page could simply be an error.

3) The defender played 14 games for Athletic’s U20 side in the 2010/11 season before being sent to play with Basconia, their feeder team, in the Spanish fourth division. There, the 17-year-old excelled, playing 33 games, and was rewarded with a further step up the following summer when he was promoted to Athletic’s B team in the third division. That was only the tip of the iceberg for the defender, however.

4) In November 2012, Laporte was handed his first team debut in a Europa League clash with Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona, playing the entire game. Despite the 2012/13 season proving to be a difficult one for Athletic, with fall-outs between the players and manager Marcelo Bielsa hindering their progress, Laporte managed to finish the year playing 16 games in all competitions, and impressed throughout.

The youngster is capable of playing at full-back, though is better in his natural centreback position, and is excellent with the ball at his feet. 5) Laporte is a France youth international, and in Spain, many expect him to follow the path of his compatriot Raphael Varane and earn a place in the senior France squad in the near future. He says “Barca’s interest flatters me.

I’ve dreamed of playing with a team like that since I was a kid, but at the moment I’m not thinking about this kind of stuff. I’m very happy in Bilbao, and anyway, they would have to pay €36m.” Laporte on his future. Video evidence What do you think of Laporte?

Is he good enough to play for a top club? Let us know below… “

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