Manchester City’s plans to activate Aymeric Laporte’s £40m release clause have been dealt a serious blow after the Athletic Bilbao striker suffered a serious injury during a match for France Under-21s on Thursday night.
With 21-year-old Laporte widely reported as Pep Guardiola’s number one summer transfer target when he takes over at City at the end of the season, the Telegraph adds that the Premier League side will meet his £39.6m buy-out clause in order to open negotiations with the player’s representatives.
However, Guardiola will not have been pleased with the news on Friday morning that Laporte was carried off the pitch on a stretcher during France Under-21s 2-0 victory over Scotland Under-21s with a fractured ankle, and the Bilbao defender will undergo further scans on Friday to determine the extent of the damage.
A statement from Athletic Bilbao read: “The player suffered an injury to his right ankle during the Under-21 match between Scotland and France.
“The first scan detected a fracture-dislocation on his right fibula and ankle.
“On his return to Bilbao, he will be subjected to further tests, after which the extent of his injury and absence will be determined.”
Video footage showed Laporte’s ankle collapse under him as he ran back towards his own goal to challenge
Laporte took to Instagram to give his followers an update on his condition, which included a picture of him on a hospital bed with his right foot in a cast. However, Laporte was smiling and giving the camera a thumbs up, and he included a message – written in Spanish and French – to his fans.
“I inform you that after the first analysis the results are negative (bad),” said Laporte. “Tomorrow I have more tests and I’ll let you know. Thank you for all the messages of support.”
Laporte is contracted to Bilbao until the summer of 2019 and has also attracted interest from Barcelona, but Guardiola has made him his prime target ahead of his arrival at the Etihad Stadium. It’s been reported that Guardiola wants to pair Laporte with Everton centre-back John Stones in a bid to improve City’s defence, although they will need to fend off competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea in order to land the 21-year-old England international.
Bilbao tweeted out a video of the incident, labelling the injury a “nasty one”.
They added: “Nasty injury for Laporte, could be out for some time. Might have broken a bone whilst playing for France U21s.
“Laporte's injury, is a nasty one. Especially with the opponent being offside. Sad times.
“Get well soon @Laporte.”Reuse content