Man City Breaks Club Record Transfer Fee For La Liga’s Most Promising Defender

Dismayed over Virgil van Dijk’s decision to join Liverpool, Manchester City have gone and broken their own club transfer record (the $77 million paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015) by signing La Liga’s most promising young defender, 23-year-old center back Aymeric Laporte, from Athletic Bilbao for $80 million.

Laporte joins the Premier League leaders on a six-year deal, and he’ll immediately be regarded as the future of City’s defense alongside fellow 23-year-old John Stones. Like Stones, Laporte is renowned for his composure on the ball and ability to play out from the back.

Here’s a glorious pass he made to Iñaki Williams on January 19 that ended up being one of the best assists of the season so far. 

And while Bilbao sits a disappointing 12th in La Liga, its defense, anchored by Laporte and 20-year-old sensation Unai Nunez, is currently sixth best in the league with only 23 goals conceded in 21 matches.

Pep Guardiola has obviously been paying attention. 

Aymeric Laporte Manchester City transfer

Laporte was one of La Liga's best defenders. Photo: @Squawka | Twitter

Laporte arrived at Bilbao in 2010 and quickly rose to the first team squad. He was named to the 2013-14 La Liga Team of the Year after appearing in 35 matches and scoring two goals while featuring at either left back or in the heart of defense.

He’s been an ever-present source of consistency for Bilbao over the last few years despite his young age, helping the club finish in the top seven of La Liga in each of the last four seasons while also playing an instrumental role in their run to the 2015-16 Europa League quarterfinals.   

Born in Agen, France, Laporte has appeared for Les Bleus at the youth level — making 19 appearances for the U-21 side — but he’s yet to be capped at the senior level. He was, however, called up for World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and the Netherlands last October. It’s only a matter of time for the product of the famed Lezama academy. 

With City fighting on four fronts, we’ll see a bit of Laporte this season, but with Nicolas Otamendi, Stones, Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala also on the books for the time being, the Frenchman will likely be eased into life in the Premier League.

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