Manchester City hopeful of sealing £57m deal for defender

Runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City are closing in on a club-record £57m deal for French defender Aymeric Laporte from La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao.

An agreement for the 23-year-old centre-half is yet to be finalised although City boss Pep Guardiola is hopeful of completing the transfer before the close of the window on Wednesday.

Should City conclude negotiations and seal a move, Laporte would become the club’s most expensive player, eclipsing the £55m they paid for Kevin de Bruyne in 2015.

Laporte has scored 10 goals in 222 appearances for Bilbao since joining the Basque club at the age of 16, while he has also represented France 19 times at under-21 level during that time.

The arrival of Laporte would boost Guardiola’s defensive options, with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi a settled pairing, although the fitness of Vincent Kompany cannot be relied upon and Eliaquim Mangala is out of favour.

West Brom skipper Jonny Evans remains an option for City, although much depends on whether Mangala leaves before the transfer window deadline. Arsenal and Leicester are also believed to be interested in Evans.

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