Aymeric Laporte is heading to Manchester City.
On Monday Athletic Bilbao confirmed that the 23-year-old center back had triggered his own release clause of $80 million and was leaving the club. Club officials from Man City have been in Spain talking to the Bilbao academy product in recent days.
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The defender posted a farewell message to Athletic’s fans via the official club channels and it is believed the deal will be announced by Man City very soon.
As is protocol in Spain’s La Liga, the release fee is paid by the player to the league which then releases him from his contract and free to sign for another club. So, basically, City have paid Laporte’s release fee.
Here’s more from Bilbao in a statement on their website.
“Today, 29th January 2018, the Liga Profesional de Fútbol (LPF) has certified to Athletic Club that the player Aymeric Laporte has met the requirements demanded in the applicable legislation for the valid unilateral resolution of the employment contract that bound him to our Club. Said certification indicates that the player has unilaterally shown his will to terminate the contractual relationship that bound him since 2009-2010 season and that the amount of compensation established in the contract has been deposited. Athletic Club would like to thank the player for his dedication during the time he has been with the club.”
No confirmation has arrived from City on the deal as of yet, but here’s what the French international defender has had to say.
Laporte will become the second most expensive defender in history behind Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk who arrived from Southampton at the start of the January window for a huge $100 million.
The tough-tackling, speedy center back is composed on the ball and it seems like he will be a perfect long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany.
Center back is the one area where City have struggled in recent years as Kompany’s injuries have piled up, Stones has taken a while to develop and the likes of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala have struggled at times, even though the former has stepped up this season and was recently handed a new deal.
Guardiola’s machine has a new defensive cog as one of the most sought after defenders in the world will shortly become a City player.