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Athletic Bilbao accept Aymeric Laporte buyout ahead of Man City move

Don Hutchison and Alison Bender discuss how defender Aymeric Laporte would fit in if he signs for Manchester City.

Athletic Bilbao have confirmed that Aymeric Laporte's release clause has been paid in full and he is now set to complete his move to Manchester City.

Sources told ESPN FC earlier in the day that City were set to complete their move for Laporte by triggering his €65 million (£57m) release clause, and the player is now free to negotiate personal terms with City.

The 23-year-old centre-back is expected to travel this evening to Manchester ahead of signing a six-year deal with the Premier League leaders.

A statement from Athletic said: "On January 29, 2018, the Spanish Football League (LFP) has certified to our club that player Aymeric Laporte has complied with the requirements to end unilaterally his contract that linked him with Athletic Club.

"The cited note points out that the player has stated his wish to end and resolve unilaterally his contractual relationship that had started in the 2009-10 campaign and has deposited the compensation fee that was established in his contract. Athletic wants to thank the player for his contribution throughout the time he has been at the club."

Laporte was tied to the Basque outfit until June 2020. City will also have to pay a further €5m for development rights because Laporte is a youth product of Athletic. 

His buyout clause of £57 million will make him a club-record signing for City in pound sterling, although the price in Euros is less than the €76m (£55m) paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne.

Laporte made his league debut with Athletic in November 2012, becoming the second Frenchman to play for the Basque outfit after Bixente Lizarazu.

Promoted to the first team in the 2012-13 campaign, the left-footed ball-playing centre-half has been a regular ever since. He started in 19 league games for Athletic this season.

Laporte issued a statement on the club's website to say goodbye, writing: "I want to thank you for all you have given me. I arrived as a teenager and I've developed as a player and as a person here.

"I don't want my departure, due to a new challenge in my professional career, to be a farewell but rather until next we meet. I leave a unique club, different, that I will never forget."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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