Pep Guardiola target Aymeric Laporte set to join Manchester City

Aymeric Laporte has decided to leave Athletic Bilbao and join Manchester City this month although Premier League leaders will have to pay the Frenchman’s release clause after he informed the La Liga club that he wants to leave.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is determined to bring in new faces before the end of the month and has opted to make a renewed attempt to secure Laporte after the French defender previously decided against a move to the Etihad Stadium in June 2016.

The Frenchman had also signed a four-year contract containing a release clause of €65m for two seasons, which is now believed to have risen to €70m but that has not put off City from contacting his agents this week to discuss a potential transfer.

As a result, Laporte has agreed a deal in principle to join City and has informed Athletic of his decision to leave before the end of the winter transfer window, with further developments expected on Wednesday.

It is believed Athletic will not be open to negotiations with any fee lower than Laporte’s buy-out clause, and City are willing to pay that amount in the coming days.

Laporte, 23, has already made almost 200 appearances for Bilbao since making his debut in 2012 but is yet to win a full cap for France.

City have also reportedly opened negotiations with Shakhtar Donetsk over a move for Fred, with the Ukrainian champions indicating they would be willing to sell the 24-year-old for €40m.

Although he mostly plays the role of a defensive midfielder, Fred can also assume the role of a left-back.

While he had also signed a five-year contract with Shakhtar earlier this month he is believed to be open to a move to the Premier League either this month or at the end of the season.

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