Aymeric Laporte’s transfer from Athletic Club Bilbao to Manchester City was one of the big talking points of the January transfer window, especially after Pep Guardiola’s comments that the club were on a ‘budget’.
Triggering the French defender’s £65m release clause, the Premier League side got one of the more promising centre-backs in Europe, even if there’s still a lot of work to be done on his part to fulfil it.
While Athletic Bilbao benefitted greatly, and managed to bring in Iñigo Martinez from Real Sociedad to replace Laporte, Manchester City unknowingly also gave a small club a lifeline by completing the deal: Sporting Union Agen.
SUA, as they’re more commonly called, are a fifth-tier club in France in financial difficulty, but, as FIFA regulation states, they are allowed a 1% commission fee for being the club were the player started his career and played for until he was 15.
That means that, out of the blue, a cheque of €650k landed on their desk, and that means a lot.
As Jean-Claude Brunel, the club’s co-president, explained to 20 Minutes: “In the space of a week, we’ve gone from a club who was on the verge of shutting down to a club whose financial future is sorted for the next ten years or so”.
What will they do with that money? They’ve got a few ideas, including paying for their coaches’ licenses, opening one or two women’s teams, buy a new team bus and hopefully build a team that will allow them to go back up to the fourth-tier in the next 4-5 years.
Realistic, to say the least.