I said ‘no’ to Man City… Laporte lifts lid on summer transfer talk

Aymeric Laporte, the Athletic Bilbao defender, had the opportunity to join Manchester City in the summer but turned it down.

The Frenchman told RTL: “How did I say no to Pep (Guardiola)? By looking at the pros and cons. I spoke with him for a long time, as well as with my club. I also looked at my family, my entourage.

“It wasn’t too early. It was just pros and cons: amount of time on the pitch, me recovering from injury. These aren’t easy things to think about at my age. In the end, I had to make a choice. I did, and I’m happy.”

Laporte signed a new deal with Bilbao in the summer after the talks died down, which contains a release clause of €65 million for the first two years and then €70million for the next two.

Man City did go on to sign a defender in John Stones, but with Vincent Kompany injured and Eliaquim Mangala out on loan they have used Aleksandar Kolarov as a centre-half at times instead of Nicolas Otamendi.

Laporte, meanwhile, has now recovered from a broken leg sustained just before EURO 2016 and is in the France squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.

The 22-year-old defender started his career in Athletic Bilbao’s youth ranks before moving to Basconia, where he made his senior breakthrough.

Following a spell there, he re-joined Athletic to play for their ‘B team’, before progressing to the senior set-up – he’s since made over 100 appearances and is on the verge of winning his first Les Bleus cap.