Sky Sports reporter Guillem Balague is reporting that Manchester City is set to seal an $86 million purchase of center back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, and all that’s left is for City to agree to contract terms with the player.
The 23-year-old has been with the Basque outfit since 2012, making more than 200 appearances for Athletic. Balague issued a Tweet saying Man City opted for Laporte over $34 million Jonny Evans of West Brom.
Laporte is a smooth and technical passer at center back who shouldn’t have a problem with the physical nature of the Premier League either. He’s yet to break into the French national team, and is only the second French player to play for Bilbao.
Rumors have circulated for some time, though a Tuesday report was dismissed because Laporte was in advanced discussions with Man City during a previous transfer window when he changed his mind.
It’s more big money from City, a boon for Athletic Bilbao, and terrific competition for John Stones and any Man City center back not named Nicolas Otamendi (and Vincent Kompany when healthy).
Laporte will probably sign a 4 and half year deal, will be able to play the CL. City will pay his buy out clause of €65m plus €5m in development rights. Even though not the tallest, fast, can play from the back, left footed. Evans was considered at £20 (+ £4m for agent) pic.twitter.com/bmeoRVhWUs
Balague says that Arsenal is willing to pay $73 million for Aubameyang and are confident that Borussia Dortmund would accept such an offer.
Aubameyang is a prolific scorer but more advanced in age than most Arsenal purchases. The 28-year-old has 21 goals for BVB this season, and was dropped from the team on Sunday.
BVB goalkeeper Roman Burki said this about the suspension:
“I support it. It was a logical decision. There are rules which apply to every player regardless of how many goals he scores or prevents. It would be a shame if he missed out again due to his stupid actions.”
Balague also says Alexis Sanchez has big offers from Manchester City and Manchester United, and that the Red Devils are ahead in the race to land the Chilean attacker in the next three days. He also said no one is ruling City out yet.
The Reds rejected a trio of offers for Coutinho over the summer despite the Brazilian lodging a transfer request with the front office. The last bid was reportedly worth around $150 million, which before Neymar’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain would have been a record transfer bid.
It would be very surprising to see Liverpool offload Coutinho now, with the team still in the race for a UEFA Champions League position for next year as well as this year’s Champions League knockout stage. At the same time, Coutinho would have to adjust to a new club and new setting just six months before a World Cup, which may keep him in Liverpool until then.
The report states that Coutinho signing a new contract at Liverpool is the least likely outcome, a very disappointing note for the Merseyside club.
Here’s some more transfer rumors around the Premier League and Europe:
Three Toronto FC players split 10 percent of the vote (Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez). The Top Eight was rounded out by Atlanta United pair Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez, and Chicago striker Nemanja Nikolic.