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Aymeric Laporte Joins Manchester City in Club-Record Transfer

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2018

BILBAO, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 29:  Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Club controls the ball during the Copa del Rey, Round of 32, Second Leg match between Athletic Club and SD Formentera at San Mames Stadium on November 29, 2017 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Manchester City have completed the signing of Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, it was confirmed on Tuesday. 

City revealed the deal had gone through on their official Twitter account:

Manchester City @ManCity

Defensive reinforcements acquired! 💪🇫🇷 Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! https://t.co/cDu4FWOKlb

Manchester City @ManCity

Looking 👌 in 🔵, @Laporte! https://t.co/sSane5qhlI

The defender posted the following message to the Athletic supporters on the team Twitter account on Monday:

Laporte has agreed a five-and-a-year contract at the Etihad Stadium. According to James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph, City will pay around £57 million for the defender, having met the buyout clause in his contract at San Mames.

It was reported that City came close to landing the centre-back in the summer of 2016, although he opted against the move and signed a new contract with Athletic.

With that in mind, Goal's Sam Lee is surprised City have gone back in for the defender a second time:

Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal

Not a clue exactly how/why City are giving Laporte a ‘second chance’, as it were, after the 2016 snub. One source for this story, who I think saw the fall-out for himself, is absolutely baffled by it, another merely says “Txiki is a good man”. All parties need to come good now

However, manager Pep Guardiola has finally got his man, and City are getting an exciting player in Laporte, as these numbers from Squawka Football show:

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Squawka Football @Squawka

Aymeric Laporte for Athletic Bilbao in La Liga: 161 games 4293 forward passes 752 clearances 401 interceptions 361 (66%) aerial duels won 243 (74%) tackles won 7 goals Only the second ever French player for Athletic Bilbao. 🇫🇷 https://t.co/P1Bqjqgn3Y

The Frenchman has long been rated as one of the finest defensive prospects in European football, having burst onto the scene for the Basque outfit at a young age.

There are clear traits in his game that will appeal to a manager like Guardiola. Laporte is intelligent, utilising smart anticipation and astute positioning to win battles with centre-forwards.

BILBAO, SPAIN - JANUARY 07:  Aymeric Laporte of Athletic Club reacts during the La Liga match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Deportivo Alaves at San Mames Stadium on January 7, 2018 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

The defender also has the physical qualities that are so often needed to succeed in the Premier League. Laporte is a powerful player, relishes a tackle and is rarely beaten when it comes to aerial duels.

He's still young, too, and with that in mind City will feel as though they've got a smart long-term investment.

It's one area of the squad where Guardiola's side appear a little light. An injury to Nicolas Otamendi, the team's defensive linchpin this season, would be a major setback to City.

John Stones is full of potential, yet still error prone. Meanwhile, club captain Vincent Kompany has had perennial problems with injury, and at this point he cannot be relied upon. Eliaquim Mangala has done little to impress when handed an opportunity either.

Laporte fits the bill for City. Being left-footed he'll add balance to the defence, he has room to improve and his quality in possession means he'll be a fine fit for the Guardiola blueprint. It's a signing that shows, despite their domestic dominance, City appear relentless in their attempts to continue getting better.

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