Manchester City looks to strengthen its back line with the in-demand Bilbao defender.
Manchester City appear to be making strong progress in their attempts to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte in what remains of the January transfer window, with suggestions from multiple sources that a contract has even been agreed.
City had been linked with both West Brom center back Jonny Evans, who now looks increasingly likely to join Arsenal this month instead, and Virgil van Dijk, before his move to Liverpool, but have instead turned back to Laporte.
City's initial interest in Laporte was derailed by a fractured ankle he suffered in the spring of 2016, while he also signed a new contract with Bilbao that summer.
But with Pep Guardiola seemingly still not convinced by Eliaquim Mangala and unable to trust an injury-prone Vincent Kompany, a move for the 23-year-old Frenchman is back on the cards.
According to Sky Sports, talks are in place and City are 'considering' triggering the player's buyout clause. That figure was confirmed by Bilbao as €65m (around £57m) when he signed the deal 18 months ago and will rise to €70m if City wait until the summer.
Spanish outlet Marca have taken things a step further, reporting that Laporte 'reached the basis of an agreement' with City. It is said that the Citizens are not simply considering triggering the buyout clause, but are actually 'ready' to do it. As such, Laporte is tipped to sign a five-year contract in Manchester.
Marca claims 'City are confident that a deal will be completed at the start of next week'.
Meanwhile, Cadena SER's Bruno Alemany suggests it is City's intention to deposit the money by Friday of this week. He also spoke of a five-year contract for the player.
Laporte, who was born in the Basque region of southern France, joined Bilbao in 2010 at the age of 16 and made his senior debut two years later in a Europa League fixture. He has been an established first-team player ever since and has already played over 220 games for the club.