Just over a week ago, Marca broke the big story that Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte was set to join Manchester City for the player’s €50 million (£39.6 million) release clause. Catalan daily SPORT reluctantly backed up the story later that day, with the added note that Laporte prefers to join Barcelona, the club that SPORT primarily cheerlead for.
Then disaster struck. Some are calling it the curse of City, where even players linked with the club suffer grave misfortune. On the same day he was reported to be joining City, Laporte suffered a nasty injury playing for France’s under-21 team.
Morning: Laporte reported to be joining City.
Evening: Stretchered off with what looks like a VERY serious injury. pic.twitter.com/xdQWWTat9R
— City Watch (@City_Watch) March 24, 2016
This and the announcement from his club that he will miss a few months immediately brought any potential deal into doubt, and the newspapers reported such. That was until yesterday, when another Spanish newspaper, AS, reported that despite his injury, City are pressing ahead with plans to sign the hugely talented 21-year-old.
Now you can almost call it a certainty, as the great Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that not only has Laporte agreed to join City, ‘because of his admiration for Pep Guardiola’, but City’s lawyers are already working on paying the €50 million release clause that the Basque club are demanding for their greatest talent since Javi Martínez.
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) April 1, 2016
Tall, elegant, and technical, Laporte is the perfect sort of defender for Pep Guardiola. And to see off Barcelona, who had earmarked him as a primary target, would show City’s power in the market under Pep Guardiola. A new era approaches…