According to a report from Spanish outlet El Chiringuito, Manchester City are set to pay the release clause of Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, and a deal could be completed by the end of the month. If Laporte is signed, City would end their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans, and finally getting the player Pep Guardiola wanted alongside John Stones at the start of his first season.
City very nearly signed Laporte, in fact, but the Frenchman suddenly had a change of heart, rejected the Blues and signed a new contract with Bilbao. Since then he really hasn’t been linked with any big club, which makes this fresh City rumor quite the interesting one.
It’s important to note that El Chiringuito are not the most reliable source out there and all of their transfer rumors have to be taken with a few grains of salt, but Laporte has been a target and nearly became a City player 18 months ago. While City fans are angry that he rejected the club for no apparent reason, all of us would welcome him with open arms if he does sign in January (or the summer).
Why? Well, this is one of the best young defenders in the world and is an absolute perfect fit in Guardiola’s system. Laporte and Stones could be the main center-back pairing for almost an entire decade, and both are exceptional with the ball at their feet, which is important when playing for Pep.
But I refuse to get excited about this. After what happened two summers ago, I learned that any excitement for Aymeric Laporte just turns into pain when the window ends.