Messi urges Barcelona to battle Real Madrid for their target

Lionel Messi has urged the Barcelona board to battle Real Madrid for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte this summer, the 23-year-old has emerged as one of La Liga’s most talented defenders, according to report.

The Argentine captain penned a lucrative new contract that will run until 2021 last week.

The French U21 international has been a target Manchester City last summer but a move failed to materialise after he broke his leg.

The defender has been a top performer in recent season and his exploits have attracted interest from Barcelona and also their arch rivals Real Madrid is also showing some desire to sign the defender this summer.

Los Blancos Chiefs view him as a long-term replacement for Pepe, who has been released by the club and he has subsequently signed for Turkey club Besiktas.

But, according to Spanish news outletDon Balon, Messi has told Barcelona chiefs to battle Real Madridfor his signature.

Messi reportedly wants the club to sign quality players – and Laporte fits the bill.

Laporte is well known to Ernesto Valverde from his time managing Bilbao and he wants a reunion with the centre back at Camp Nou.

Don Balon suggest Messi has also recommended Paris St-Germain centre-back Marquinhos.

Barcelona has had limited success in the transfer market this summer so far, they have only confirmed the capture of their La Masia graduate Gerard Deulofeu from Everton for a fee within the region of £10m.

Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin and Paris St-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti have been touted as targets.