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Aymeric Laporte close to Manchester City move after club meet £57.2m clause

• Athletic Bilbao say figure has been met by unspecified club
• City have been chasing France Under-21 international since 2016

Aymeric Laporte is expected to arrive at Manchester City after Athletic Bilbao confirmed their €65m (£57.2m) buyout clause for the 23-year-old France Under-21 international had been met. The Spanish club did not specify which club had bought the defender but City have been chasing the player since 2016, stepping up their efforts in this transfer window after giving up on Virgil van Dijk and Jonny Evans, and are understood to have representatives in Bilbao attempting to push through a deal before Wednesday’s deadline.

The capture of a player who has made more than 200 appearances for Athletic sets a spending record for City, narrowly beating the £55m paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne three years ago. Pep Guardiola caused a little mirth at the weekend when he claimed City were either unable or unwilling to spend £80m on a single player but, though £57m for a squad defender is hardly a modest outlay, it is some way behind the fees Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku. City are believed to have been willing to pay Southampton £60m for Van Dijk but pulled out when they discovered the asking price had been raised to £75m.

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