Manchester City complete club-record Laporte signing

Manchester City complete club-record Laporte signing

The Citizens made a big splash in the final days of the transfer window with the signing of the highly-rated of the French defender.

Danial Kennedy

Manchester City have once again splashed the cash right at the end of the January transfer window, as they broke their club-record for the £57.2million signing of Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte. 

Flexing the financial muscles 

It has been excellent first-half to season for Pep Guardiola's men having made significant strides in all competitions but domestic and European, their dominance has come somewhat at a price having picked up some significant injuries in the defensive departments with both John Stones and Vincent Kompany being out for considerable periods with injury. 

Guardiola has made no secret about his desire to increase his defensive additions having been rumoured with the likes of Jonny Evans and Iñigo Martínez, but it is Laporte that has made the move to The Etihad Stadium. 

City had been linked with the Frenchman previously but things stepped up a gear on Moday when Bilbao confirmed an unspecified club had paid the 23-year-old's release cause, this heightened further with Laporte leaving a goodbye message to fans on social media. 

Laporte's arrival sees City break their own transfer record previously held by the £55m paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne, with the Frenchman signing a five-year contract at Eastlands. 


Going to be his saving grace 

Laporte has been touted as one of the game's brightest young talents for many a year having come through the ranks at Lezama academy, Laporte has already made 200 appearances for Bilbao but the 23-year-old still has a long way to go having yet to be capped for the French national team. 

The defender seems ideal for a Guardiola system as defender known from playing out from the back, however the Frenchman has been playing a direct style with Bilbao and Terry Gibson admitted that it will be the "saving grace" for the defender that he will develop his game under Guardiola. 

"The saving grace, I think, for Laporte is that Guardiola is going to be his manager," Gibson told the La Liga Weekly podcast. "He's one of those managers who improves young players, and Laporte is still a young player." 

"I have concerns about him as a centre-back," the pundit admitted. "I think he needs to be more physical, his concentration needs to be better, I think he takes too many liberties at times."

"To be honest, I think he's the type of centre-half I would have liked to have played against as he gives you an opportunity," he stated. "I think he's quick but not lightning quick, I think he's strong but not very strong, he's good in the air but that wouldn't have bothered me anyway, he does give you a chance."

"So that's the type of weaknesses you'd expect Guardiola to improve but it's amazing you're paying 65m (euros) for someone that still has a lot of room for improvement," Gibson concluded. "I think it is the ideal place to improve. He will improve by playing with better players under Pep Guardiola, so be patient with him."