Premier League: Manchester City sign Aymeric Laporte


Manchester City completed a big-money signing to spice up the January transfer window: French defender Aymeric Laporte joins from Athletic Bilbao for 57 million pounds. Adding that to this summer's spending, Pep Guardiola has spent over 200 million pounds on defenders and a goalkeeper since the end of last season. This move also breaks the club's transfer record, which had been set when Kevin De Bruyne was bought for 55 million pounds. Laporte, aged 23, has not yet played for the senior French national team, but he has 19 caps for the Under-21s.

"I am looking forward to working under manager Pep Guardiola and trying to help the club to achieve success," Laporte said. "It means a lot that the club have shown faith in me and I am excited to get started." Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have been the pair of central defenders that Pep Guardiola preferred to use this season, with Eliaquim Mangala and Vincent Kompany as backups. Both Mangala and Kompany will remain at the club for now, but Laporte gives Guardiola a solid backup option as Kompany had several injury problems and Mangala is still unreliable.

About the club's spending, Guardiola said: "We have spent £300m on six players, others have done it on two. We had a lot of older players out of contract. To compete we needed to spend. A club can decide to spend on two players. We did it in a different way. We understand the inflation of the market. We have spent on six players and others have done it in one or two. We accept criticism, but more important is that they play well." Aymeric Laporte scored 10 goals in 222 appearances in all competitions for Athletic Bilbao.

Manchester City are 1/200 at Bet365 to win the Premier League title this season.

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