Aymeric Laporte has been left out of Athletic Bilbao’s squad to face Eibar as Manchester City move closer to completing a deal to sign him.
Laporte, 23, who has made 19 appearances for Athletic this season, was one of two players to drop out of manager Jose Angel Ziganda’s 18-man squad for the Basque derby at San Mames on Friday.
La Liga Football
January 27, 2018, 12:00am
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Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on City’s reported pursuit of Laporte when asked about the potential deal on Friday.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola remains coy over moves for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte and Shakhtar Donetsk's Fred
Sky sources understand City are close to signing Laporte and are willing to match his £57m release clause, breaking the club’s transfer record of £55m, which they paid for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.
Asked for an update on negotiations for Laporte, Guardiola said: “No I can’t, sorry. He’s a player of Athletic Bilbao.
City wanted to sign the Frenchman when Guardiola first arrived at the club in 2016 but he turned down a move to the Etihad.
Asked whether Laporte was a player of interest, Guardiola said: “There were players in the past who we were interested in and we will be in the present and the future.
“I always try to do the best for the club; knowing the players that we have and knowing the players that can improve our squad.”