Athletic Bilbao spend half of Aymeric Laporte fee to land Inigo Martinez 12:09 AM AST

Athletic Bilbao have moved swiftly to sign Spain defender Inigo Martinez after Aymeric Laporte departed for Manchester City.

Laporte joined City after Bilbao confirmed on Monday that his buyout clause, believed to be around €65 million, had been paid.

However, La Liga side Athletic have quickly lined up a replacement in Martinez, who arrives from Basque rivals Real Sociedad for a fee of €32m.

The 26-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with an €80m euros buyout clause, and will be presented to the media on Tuesday evening.

Aymeric Laporte joins Man City in club-record transfer from Athletic Bilbao

Manchester City have completed a club record deal for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte.

The 23-year-old has signed a contract until 2023 after the Premier League leaders paid his €65 million (£57m) release clause in full.

It makes him City’s most expensive signing in pound sterling, although the price in Euros is less than the €76m (£55m) paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.

Athletic Bilbao didn’t take long to replace Laporte, announcing the €32m signing of Spain defender Inigo Martinez from Real Sociedad soon after.

Laporte will be able to make his debut in the Premier League clash with Burnley on Saturday and is also eligible to be included in City’s Champions League squad.

He told City FC that the chance to play for manager Pep Guardiola held great appeal for him.

“I have always followed him, when he was with other clubs as well. I have always been fascinated by him, especially when I have had the chance to watch him,” he said.

“We both have the same style of play, so that’s great. Obviously having Pep Guardiola as manager of your team changes lots of things. He is a very prestigious manager and we must take advantage of that to learn and to improve.”

Speaking at a news conference shortly after the signing was announced, Guardiola said Laporte is ready to make an instant impact.

“He is able to start right away,” Guardiola said. “The Premier League is special in many senses but he is intelligent. It’s always tough for a new player but we will be patient.

“He’s played since a young age in La Liga so at a high level. He’s strong in the air and fast. He’s got good quality and we are delighted.”

City director of football Txiki Begiristain added: “We are delighted to have signed Aymeric. We have assessed defensive options and he is a player we have admired for a long time.

“With his quality and ability to play out from the back, we feel Aymeric will fit in perfectly with Pep Guardiola’s playing style.”

The centre-back had been close to joining City in the summer of 2016 only to pull out of a deal at the last minute and sign a new contract with the Basque club, which ran until June 2020.

City will also have to pay a further €5m for development rights because Laporte is a youth product of Athletic.

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