Manchester City have informed Athletic Bilbao that they intend to trigger the €50 million (£39 million) release clause of defender Aymeric Laporte.
The big news comes from ETB, a very reliable outlet based in the Basque region. Laporte has been linked with City for a while now, but this news all but confirms the 21-year-old will join Pep Guardiola’s City revolution this summer.
Any potential move had been thrown into doubt when Laporte broke his leg and dislocated an ankle, a setback that will keep him out until August, but with the dearth of elite centre-backs on the market, Txiki Begiristain has decided to go ahead with plans to sign the elegant defender.
ETB say Begiristain was at the San Mamés on April 7 to observe the Athletic vs. Sevilla Europa League clash. Laporte did not feature because of his injury, but Txiki is reported to have informed Athletic chiefs of City’s plans to buy Laporte. The player is a ‘specific request’ of Pep Guardiola, who sees him as an ideal centre-back for the style of football he plans to implement at City.
Despite being just 21, Laporte has already played in Athletic Bilbao’s first-team for four seasons, making 149 appearances and scoring 7 goals. One of Europe’s most sought after young defenders, Laporte has been linked with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG, Manchester United and others, but all signs point to him becoming one of Manchester City’s big summer signings to usher in the Pep Guardiola era.