Aymeric Laporte has become the latest recruit for Josep Guardiola's Manchester City; UEFA.com's man in Spain, Joe Walker, looks at why the Premier League leaders have invested.
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Aymeric Laporte has become the latest player to join Josep Guardiola's revolution at Manchester City, moving to England after the Premier League leaders agreed to pay the release clause in his Athletic Club contract. UEFA.com examines what the French centre-back will bring to the side.
Date of birth: 27/05/1994
Preferred foot: left
Attacking from defence
Guardiola wants his defenders to be comfortable on the ball and in that sense Laporte fits the bill. He has an eye for a pass, both short and long, and having come through the ranks in Spain – he joined Athletic's youth set-up aged 15 – he is composed in possession and cool under pressure.
Hit the ground running
Tall, strong and with a decent turn of pace, he boasts all the attributes required of a modern defender. Add to this his aerial prowess and he should have few problems adjusting to the Premier League. His height also makes him a threat from attacking set pieces, although with seven strikes in 161 Liga matches for Athletic, he will be looking to improve on that goals-to-games ratio.
Balance at the back
Naturally left-footed, Laporte will bring balance to the back line and provides a natural foil for John Stones, Nicolás Otamendi or Vincent Kompany. He has occasionally filled in at left-back for Athletic, which could come in handy given City's injuries worries in that position.
Laporte captained France at Under-17, U18, U19 – notably reaching the final of the 2013 EURO in Lithuania – and U21 levels. His leadership is sure to bring even greater organisation to a City rearguard that has already kept 16 clean sheets in all competitions this season, though they have managed only one in their last seven outings.
The next level
There is a school of thought that says now is the perfect time for Laporte to test himself at the highest level. Having won the last of his 17 Under-21 caps in 2016, the 23-year-old will be determined to break into Didier Deschamps' France squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Nations League, and playing in the UEFA Champions League – for which he is eligible – will only help his cause.