City Land Record-Breaking Defender Deal


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Manchester City agreed a club-record fee of £57m for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, reports the Guardian.

Pep Guardiola is a keen admirer of the 23-year-old centre-back, who is due to arrive in Manchester next week to sign a 5½-year deal with the current Premier League leaders. The deal effectively ends City’s interest in West Bromwich Albion captain Jonny Evans, 30.

Despite not yet winning any caps for his native France, Laporte represents a big win for Guardiola in the transfer window having suffered previous disappointments with Alexis Sanchez moving to Manchester United and Virgil van Dijk joining Liverpool.

Since his debut in 2012, Laporte has been virtually an ever-present in the Bilbao defence, making 222 appearances for Los Leones. Left-footed, he is able to double-up as cover for the problematic left-back position for City while playing understudy to Vincent Kompany.

With Eliaquim Mangala failing to prove himself to Guardiola, it seems likely that Laporte will find himself in the starting line-up quickly as City look to lay claim to the Premier League title and Carabao Cup.

The Frenchman is an attractive option for Guardiola as he is not cup-tied for the Champions League. While City refuse to publicly admit this is their priority – indeed, Guardiola recently commented that all four trophies were equal in his eyes – the club’s owners would prefer the prestige being crowned European Champions brings.