Citizens splash cash for Laporte

Manchester City have bolstered their defensive options with the signing of Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao on a five-and-a-half-year contract.

The 23-year-old centre-back joins the Premier League leaders after they reportedly met his £57 million release clause, which is a new club-record transfer.

Laporte brings to an end a long association with the Basque outfit, having initially linked up with their academy in 2010 before going on to make his first-team debut two years later.

The former France Under-21 international made 30 appearances in all competitions for Los Leones this season, but was omitted from the matchday squad for Friday’s La Liga clash with Eibar.

Laporte bid farewell to Athletic on Monday in a post on their Twitter account and completed his big-money move to the Etihad Stadium the following day.

“I am very happy to be here. City are a club with a lot of ambition and they are one of the best teams in Europe,” he told his new club’s official website.

“I am looking forward to working under Pep Guardiola and trying to help the club to achieve success. It means a lot that the club have shown faith in me and I am excited to get started.”

City boss Pep Guardiola added: “He’s a young player so 23, left foot, central defender, played since a young age in La Liga so on the biggest stages.

“He’s strong in the air, he’s fast, good quality with the pass. So [I’m] delighted and happy and grateful for what the club has done.”