Manchester City are close to signing Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, Sky Sports News understands.

City are thought to be happy to match the defender’s £57million release clause and negotiations with the centre-back are now taking place.

And the addition of the 23-year-old would break City’s current transfer record of £55m, which they paid for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.

Sky Sports News reported earlier this week that discussions had begun between the clubs over a player City wanted to sign when Pep Guardiola first arrived at the club in 2016.

Laporte has a £57million release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract
Laporte has a £57million release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract

But the 23-year old turned down a move to the Etihad, and has remained of interest to a number of top clubs across Europe including Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea.

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Laporte appeared to emerge as City’s top target after they missed out on signing Alexis Sanchez, for whom they were prepared to pay £20m.

City had also shown interest in West Brom’s Jonny Evans, Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez and Leicester defender Harry Maguire.

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