Manchester City reportedly edge closer to deal for Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte

Manchester City are reportedly in line for their first signing of the January transfer window, with The Citizens prepared to break their club-record fee for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte. 

Flexing the financial muscles once again 

Pep Guardiola has repeatedly splashed the cash during his tenure at the Etihad Stadium but is looking to delve into the seemingly never-ending pockets of the City hierarchy in the January window, with The Citizens being keen on strengthening his defence. 

City's excellence has also proven to be their downfall as the amount of games played has seen significant injuries to both John Stones and Vincent Kompany over the weeks and months, the club have been linked with the likes of Jonny Evans and Iñigo Martínez but it is an old target that is currently leading the pack. 

Laporte was a target for Guardiola when he first made the move to Eastlands alongside the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona. The Frenchman rejected that move but now has emerged as City's top priority following the loss of Alexis Sánchez to bitter rivals United. 

City will be looking to avoid a similar situation by matching the 23-year-old's £57million release clause, breaking the club's previous record held by Kevin De Bruyne with his £55m move from Wolfsburg. 

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Full of respect for The Robins 

If Laporte was to join The Citizens he could be in line for instant success, as they managed to keep their quadruple dreams alive by reaching the Carabao Cup final on Tuesday night with the visit to Ashton Gate. 

City gave themselves a cushion over Bristol City with goals either side of half-time from Leroy Sané and Sergio Agüero

Marlon Pack and Aden Flint seemed to save a respectable draw for Lee Johnson's side but De Bruyne secured the 3-2 win right at death. 

It certainly didn't prove a walk in the park for The Citizens but will take on Arsenal on February 25 after their win over Chelsea, and midfielder Bernardo Silva stated that he is "looking forward" to his first final with City. 

"I'm looking forward to my first final with City," he said to "And I think we played a good game and deserve to be at Wembley." 

"Bristol City are a good team, have great fans and a great stadium," Silva concluded. "So this wasn't easy but we are very happy to have won."