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.

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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