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Athletic Bilbao replacing Aymeric Laporte with Man City’s OTHER centre-back target

The Basque club have moved to pinch Inigo Martinez from their main rivals Real Sociedad

This is an intriguing transfer saga.

Man City are flexing their financial muscle again to bring in Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao.


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Laporte is City bound

Getty - Contributor
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Laporte is City bound

The Premier League leaders expect to wrap up the deal in the coming days after triggering the young French defender’s €65m release clause.

City were desperate to land a centre-back who wouldn’t be cup tied for the Champions League, particularly with Vincent Kompany’s ongoing injury problems.

They missed out on Virgil van Dijk – who joined Liverpool – and there other main target was Real Sociedad star Inigo Martinez.

Martinez is one of Sociedad’s best players

EPA
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Martinez is one of Sociedad’s best players

But, in a rather satisfying transfer merry-go-round, Martinez is now heading to Bilbao as Laporte’s replacement.

Martinez has a €32m release clause which Bilbao have met, according to Marcaand the Basque-club hope to even him available for the La Liga clash with Girona on Sunday.

Bilbao’s traditional transfer policy limits the club to signing Basque-linked players and Martinez ticks those boxes having been born in the town of Ondorroa.

Martinez has played four times for Spain

EPA
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Martinez has played four times for Spain

It’s a contentious move though.

Bilbao and Sociedad are local rivals and two players from the latter – Asier Illarramendi and Mikel Oyarzabal – have previously turned down moves to the Basque capital.

But Sociedad are powerless to stop Martinez, who has also been coveted by Barcelona, completing the controversial switch because of his release clause.

Managed to digest all that?


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