Aymeric Laporte could reject Barcelona to stay at Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte says he could envisage himself turning down an approach from Barcelona.

Laporte, 21, has often been linked with Barca and the four-year contract he signed last summer is reported to contain a release clause of €50 million.

However, the France under-21 international says he is happy to continue his development at Bilbao.

"They're one of the best clubs in the world but you can refuse them," he said of Barcelona in an interview with French TV programme Telefoot.

"The club haven't contacted me -- neither last year, nor the years before that. I have a path to take -- it involves spending these years here in Bilbao."

A left-footed centre-back, Laporte has never been called up to the France senior squad and having spent more than five years in the country he would be eligible to play for Spain.

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque said last year that he is a player of interest but Laporte once again reiterated his desire to represent the country of his birth.

"If really there is no interest for France in calling me up, then I'll maybe have to see about other options," he said.

"But there's only one thing that counts for me -- that's the French team."