Manchester are ready to meet the £39m release clause in Aymeric Laporte’s contract with Athletic Bilbao, after announcing the signing of Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund
The 22-year-old French defender will be sidelined until August because of a broken leg and dislocated ankle but is understood to be a main transfer target for new City manager Pep Guardiola .
Laporte has stepped up his training in recent weeks and although Bilbao are ready to offer him an improved contract, he is believed to be keen to join Guardiola’s revolution at the Etihad.
Laporte, who has been at the Bilbao since he was 16, is a predominantly left-footed player and is rated as one of the best young defenders in the world.
Guardiola is also keen to sign Everton and England defender John Stones but is likely to face stiff competition from Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona for the Everton man.