Wednesday 23 January 2019

Aymeric Laporte bids farewell to Athletic Bilbao fans ahead of move to Manchester City

Athletic Bilbao's French defender Aymeric Laporte and inset (Pep Guardiola)
Athletic Bilbao's French defender Aymeric Laporte and inset (Pep Guardiola)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester City's latest big money arrival is set to be confirmed imminently after defender Aymeric Laporte posted a farewell message to Athletic Bilbao fans.

City have been widely expected to seal a £60m deal for Laporte ahead of Wednesday's transfer deadline and now it seems the deal is set to be finalised after the player posted this message to Bilbao fans.

"To all the Athletic family. I want to thank you for all you have given me," he wrote in a message on Athletic's official Twitter account.

"I arrived as a kid and I've grown here as a person and as a footballer. My exit, ahead of a new challenge in my professional career, I don't want it to be a goodbye, but a see you later.

"Here I am leaving a unique club, different and I will never forget you."

The signing is set to push Pep Guardiola's spending well past the £400m mark at Manchester City since his arrival at the club in the summer of 2016, even though he stated at the weekend that his club are not in a position to bid huge sums of money to sign top players.

"When you are trying to handle four competitions and such a lot of fixtures you either have to be lucky with injuries or have 22 top players to compete," the City manager said.

"At today's prices to have 22 top players you need to find – maybe people don't believe me – money we don't have. City are not so different from other clubs. There are salaries we cannot pay. There are transfers we cannot afford. That's why academies are so important because you must find players of your own.

"Maybe it will happen in the future but so far we have not spent £100m on one player, or £90m or £80m.

"We cannot pay that right now, they tell me. That is the truth. Of course, we have spent a lot of money, but only the same as other teams. I can assure you that we are not the only team in the world that spends money. There are many others."

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