Manchester City closing on in a signing that could push Pep Guardiola's spending past the £450m mark
Aymeric Laporte is expected to seal his move from Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City in the coming days, with the Premier League leaders reported to be preparing spending up to £70m to sign the 23-year-old French centre-back.
City insiders have confirmed that they are in advanced talks to bring Laporte to Manchester ahead of next Wednesday’s transfer deadline, with Guardiola a firm admirer of a player he has been tracking for some time. Laporte came close to joining City in the summer of 2016, but opted to sign a new contract with his current club that included a €65m buy-out clause as he continued his development in Spain.
However, City have always retained an interest in Laporte and they now look set to activate his release clause, with agent and signing on fees, combinted with a ‘development payment’ Bilabo will be entitled to collect, likely to push the transfer close to the £70m mark.
That will make Laporte the second most expensive defender in world football behind Liverpool new-boy Virgil van Dijk, as a month of big spending among Premier League club looks set to continue.
Laporte is considered to be one of the best young defenders in world football and his qualities will fit neatly into the passing brand of football Guardiola promotes, with his arrival likely to put immediate pressure on John Stones after some uncertain performances in recent weeks.
Crucially, the centre-back would be eligible to play in the latter stages of the Champions League as he has only played Europa League football this season and his arrival would push Guardiola’s spending since he arrived at City in the summer of 2016 past the £450m mark.