Manchester City have triggered the €65million release clause of Athletic Bilbao’s defender Aymeric Laporte and are confident of signing the French defender during the ongoing January transfer window, according to Spanish journal Cadena Ser.
Man City manager Pep Guardiola is keen to sign a new central defender and are linked with the likes of Jonny Evans and Harry McGuire but Guardiola is keen to sign Laporte in January.
Reports from Spain claim that Guardiola is a long-standing fan of Laporte and has been tracking the player since his days at Bayern Munich. Laporte’s current club Athletic Bilbao are resigned over the possibility losing their star defender but have made it clear that the teams would need to pay his release clause if they want to sign the player.
According to Cadena Ser, there were concrete developments between Laporte and Bilbao after the player expressed his desires to sign for Man City in January. Guardiola’s decision to sign another central defender was further triggered last night after John Stones committed childish errors to concede 2 goals against Bristol in the League Cup semi-final.
Manchester City are clearly ahead of their chasing packs in the Premier League but Pep Guardiola is adamant about having a strong season in Champions League and he thinks his team needs a strong central defender to do so.
With Vincent Kompany’s regular injury issues, a lot of the burden has come on Nicolas Otamendi’s shoulders who has been the stand out defender for Man City this season. However, apart from Otamendi, there aren’t too many reliable central defenders with Stones constantly succumbing to his habit of overplaying from the back.
Laporte is regarded as one of the finest central defenders in the world and has also attracted attention from Manchester United and PSG, according to Cadena Ser. However, Manchester City are confident of signing the 23-year-old defender in January which would allow Laporte to play in Man City’s Champions League round of 16 clash vs FC Basel.