Hiiraan Xog, Jan 30, 2018:- Manchester City have completed a club-record signing of defender Aymeric Laporte from La Liga side Athletic Bilbao. The 23-year-old has signed a deal until 2023 and will wear number 14 shirt.
According to multiple reports, the transfer fee will be around £57m (€65m), breaking Man City’s previous transfer record – the £55m paid for Kevin de Bruyne in 2015.
The deal also makes Aymeric Laporte the second most expensive defender in the world.
Laporte has been a regular since his Spanish top-flight debut in 2012 but is yet to play for France’s senior side.
He joined Bilbao aged 16 and has scored 10 goals in 222 appearances for the Basque club, as well as representing France 19 times at under-21 level.
His arrival will provide Guardiola with a valuable additional option in central defence.
Apart from the first-choice pair of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, the fitness of skipper Vincent Kompany has proved unreliable and Guardiola appears to lack confidence in the ability of Eliaquim Mangala.
The 23-year-old joins the Club from Athletic Bilbao as Pep Guardiola’s sixth signing of the 2017/18 season and has signed a deal until 2023.
Regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe, Laporte will take the number 14 shirt and is eager to help the Blues in their hunt for silverware.
“I am very happy to be here,” Laporte declared. “City are a Club with a lot of ambition and they are one of the best teams in Europe.
“I am looking forward to working under Pep Guardiola and trying to help the Club to achieve success.
“It means a lot that the Club have shown faith in me and I am excited to get started.”
Laporte is a left-footed defender, recognised for his calmness, strength and passing ability. He began his senior career with Bilbao in 2012, after representing their B side and gaining first-team experience with CD Basconia.
At youth level, he began his journey with hometown Club SU Agen and French outfit Bayonne before making the switch to Spain.
Impressed by his skill and potential, Bilbao quickly secured his services and he went on to become a first-team regular. In total, he clocked up 222 appearances for the Club, scoring ten goals.
Also employed as a left-back, the Frenchman was named in La Liga’s 2013/14 Team of the Year. In the 2015/16 campaign, he helped Bilbao to Supercopa de Espana glory – their first piece of major silverware for 31 years.
On the international stage, he has represented France at youth level.
Txiki Begiristain, City’s Director of Football, stated: “We are delighted to have signed Aymeric.
“We have assessed defensive options and he is a player we have admired for a long time.
“With his quality and ability to play out from the back, we feel Aymeric will fit in perfectly with Pep Guardiola’s playing style.”