Manchester City stand as one of the strongest teams in Europe and the strongest in England, strolling their way to the domestic league title. However, their loss at Anfield showed the manager that there are still a few positions that can be improved upon in the squad. The January transfer window has given Pep Guardiola the right chance to add numbers to his side and one player they are looking to sign is Athletic Bilbao star, Aymeric Laporte.
Manchester City Open Talks With Bilbao:
According to reports from Sky Sports, Manchester City are searching for a centre-back to bring to Etihad this month and are convinced that Laporte is the right man for their side. They are reportedly ready to pay up to £60m for his services, which will trigger a release clause in the player’s contract.
And as things stand, the deal is expected to go through by all involved, though some last minute non-footballing ends are yet to be tied up.
Who Is Laporte?
Having graduated from the academy at Bilbao, Laporte made his first senior appearance for the side back in 2012, as an 18-year old and cemented a place in the first team pretty quickly. He has already made 161 La Liga appearances in over five season in Spain and is regarded as one of the best defenders in the Spanish domestic league at the moment.
He has 19 appearances for the French U21 side and is not too far away from a senior cap. Known for his physical approach to the game, Laporte is a hard tackling CB, who loves to impose himself on the attackers. He is strong in the air and quick to snuff out danger while his pace and athleticism allow him to mark even the best of the stars in Spain.
He still has to learn the art of hold up play but is excellent with the ball at his feet, showing confidence in his passing, helping his side set up attacks from the back. He is not a great dribbler but his calm head helps him out of the toughest situations with ease, making him an effective CB.
At just 23, he has immense experience at the highest level and is a player who will surely excel in England.
Right Man For Pep?
The Spanish manager does not have too much quality in the CB section of his squad. While Nicolas Otamendi, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, has been excellent this season, standing as the first choice defender for the manager, the likes of John Stones and Eliaquim Mangala have not done enough to warrant a first-team spot without debate.
Skipper Vincent Kompany is probably their best defender but he is currently spending more time on the sidelines than in training and needs a replacement. Laporte is as good as they get in this situation.
Halfway through the season, Pep will not find too many quality defenders ready to move. Former Manchester United man Jonny Evans is also on his radar but at 23, the Atletico Madrid man is a far better choice for the league leaders.