Update at bottom of article.
Athletic Club Bilbao are a club like no other. With a strict Basque recruitment policy, the club are restricted over players they can buy.
This leads to them being very tough over sales. If a club wants to buy an Athletic player, at least an important one, then they have to pay the release clause.
Even then the Bilbao club are as awkward as possible.
Aymeric Laporte to Manchester City claims are back and, as always, it’s fair to consult the local Basque press for their perspective.
Chief among the sources is usually El Correo, something we at Sport Witness have learned with years of covering difficult Athletic transfers. They’re calm and may not always be first, but we’ll save the exciting bit for the end.
On Laporte and Manchester City El Correo have a Tuesday article which goes over several things. Keep in mind this is from earlier on Tuesday.
- Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City he wants a central defender, and Laporte is first on his list, it seems this is assumed from other sources.
- The newspaper’s own sources have informed them City haven’t kept up contact with Laporte after previous attempts.
- Should City contact Laporte then he’ll tell them to deal with his club.
- The player’s release clause is €65m and will rise to €70m in June.
A few days ago Laporte was asked by schoolchildren, at a club event, about Manchester City previously wanting him. The defender said: “It gives you security, I’m grateful that a big club values me and puts me at their level.”
Those comments, after Laporte knocked City back in the past, could have been a nudge.
Elsewhere in Spain the transfer is being seen as pretty much done. Fiebre Rojiblanca report the personal terms as agreed and state Laporte has already given the nod to join Manchester City.
Marca report the transfer is ‘imminent’ and the only way back is if Laporte changes his mind, as they believe he’s give the OK to a move and City will pay the €65m.
Mundo Deportivo’s local Bilbao journalist says it’s ‘just a matter of time’ before Laporte becomes a Manchester City player, with the Premier League club agreeing to pay the clause and the defender accepting the move.
Update: El Correo have now joined the chorus saying Laporte is moving to Manchester City. They state he’ll sign a 6 year contract and the €65m clause will be paid in the coming days.