Aymeric Laporte: What Role Will He Fill at Manchester City?

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23-year old Aymeric Laporte has officially signed for Manchester City. He has joined the club from Athletic Bilbao after his £57m release clause was activated. Laporte has said “I am looking forward to working under manager Pep Guardiola and trying to help the club to achieve success”. This deal makes Laporte Manchester City’s new record signing.

Laporte is a French centre-back who has also played left back in his career. He has played for three teams at a club level: Basconia between 2011-2012; Bilbao Athletic, where he made 8 appearances; finally he was promoted to Athletic Bilbao, where he has played from 2012 onwards. At an international level, he has made 19 appearances for France under 21s and was once going through the process to become available for Spain. He has now declared for France.  At Bilbao, he has played 161 games and scored 7 goals.

Manchester City were linked with Laporte in the summer of 2016 as Guardiola was very fond of him. Laporte chose not to move and instead stayed in Spain despite lots of interest. His release clause at 57m pounds puts him ahead of Kevin De Bruyne who cost 55m as the club’s record signing, also making him the second most expensive defender of all time behind Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk who was also signed in this transfer window.

How does he fit in?

As to where Laporte will fit into the squad, he is a very similar style player to John Stones. Tall, fast and great technical skill on the ball. Does this mean he is replacing Stones? It’s unlikely. Rumours over the departure of Eliaquim Mangala are currently circulating despite Guardiola playing them down in his press conference earlier today. Vincent Kompany is also rumoured to be leaving, perhaps not in this window but potentially the next, due to his lack of match fitness. Laporte gives City three great choices for centre-back, four if Vincent Kompany can stay match-fit.

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