The 23-year-old may not have a single cap for France but he has already played 200 professional games and ‘adds something special with the ball’
Aymeric Laporte turned Manchester City down once but he was not going to do it again and certainly not now. Pep Guardiola had tried to sign him in 2016 only for the Athletic Club defender to say he did not want to leave Bilbao; this time he did and “time” is the word. Guardiola admitted he had intended to return for the Frenchman in the summer but that, given what lies ahead, he brought that forward by six months. And while he insisted this signing is not just for now, it is for the next four or five years and beyond, the “now” matters – particularly for the player.
There was a reason Laporte, who made his City debut in Wednesday’s win over West Brom, stayed last time. He later admitted that because the bid had come when he was injured, he had concerns about his adaptation, about his ability to get up and running: he was young but it was more that not being at his best physically would make starting at a new club, league and country, with a new language, more difficult.