Aymeric Laporte reveals Pep Guardiola was a major reason for his move to Man City

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Aymeric Laporte is the newest addition to Manchester City.

Manchester City‘s new record signing Aymeric Laporte has revealed the chance to work with Pep Guardiola was key to his move to the Etihad Stadium.

The French defender completed his switch from Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday after City paid his £57million buy-out clause.

The fee eclipses the £54million City paid for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015 and also makes him the second-most expensive defender in the world after Liverpool’s £75million signing of Virgil van Dijk.

He joins a club 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League and still alive in three cup competitions under the inspirational leadership of former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Guardiola.

The 23-year-old, who has signed a five-year contract, told City TV: “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.

“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.”

Laporte will add strength to a central defensive department which has appeared light due to captain Vincent Kompany‘s fitness issues and the inconsistencies of Eliaquim Mangala. He will challenge John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, who have formed an effective partnership this season, for a place.

Guardiola said: “He is a young player, 23, 24 years old. He is left-footed, central defender, he has played since a young age in La Liga, on the biggest stages.

“He is strong in the air, fast, good quality with the pass, so I am delighted, happy and grateful for what the club has done.”

City previously tried to sign Laporte, who is a France Under-21 international, soon after Guardiola’s arrival in the summer of 2016 but the player did not think the move was right at that time.

Guardiola said: “In that time it was not possible because he decided to remain in Bilbao.

“We spoke with the club and said we needed a centre-back in summertime, but we still have a lot of games to play and decided to try and bring him right now.

“Our summer window will now be easier because this is already done.”

Guardiola said he did not know if the deal was completed in time for Laporte to be available to face West Brom at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday but feels he is physically ready.

He said: “He is fit, he has been playing the last period so I think he is ready.

“Of course he has to adapt, the Premier League is special in many senses, but I think he is intelligent and he will read the situation.”

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Man City launch lofty £60 million bid to land Riyad Mahrez from Leicester

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Mahrez has been heavily linked with a move away from Leicester.

Manchester City have launched an audacious £60 million (Dh311.5m) move to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City before Wednesday’s transfer deadline, according to Goal.

Mahrez’s name was first reported by British media on Tuesday lunchtime and City are said to be working hard to strike a shock deal for the Algerian.

City insiders believe that any possible move will be extremely difficult to conclude, but feel their chances would be boosted significantly if Mahrez forces the issue and demands that the Foxes sell him.

Mahrez has been determined to join a top European club for some time and it is understood he will soon hold talks with Leicester to make the case that they should let him join City this month.

Sources close to the player say a £60m bid was lodged on Tuesday.

City officials have been working on a third potential signing, possibly a forward, at the same time as negotiating deals for Aymeric Laporte and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.

And following Leroy Sane’s injury at Cardiff on Sunday, one which will keep him out for six or seven weeks, the Premier League leaders have stepped up their pursuit.

Pep Guardiola insisted during his Tuesday press conference that there was a “95 per cent or 99 per cent chance” that City would do no further business this window, but sources indicate he is hopeful of bringing in Mahrez – but only if the forward pushes for it.

The league leaders still hope to do business this month after ramping up their transfer plans, having missed out on Alexis Sanchez to neighbours and rivals Manchester United.

The Blues are determined to be more decisive in the market, and have also decided they do not want to be too active during the summer window.

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks forward to 'offensive football' at Arsenal

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan has made an apparent dig at ex-boss Jose Mourinho, saying he is looking forward to playing attacking football as he prepares for his Arsenal debut.

The Armenia international, who joined the London club last week from Manchester United in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez moving in the opposite direction, is likely to face Swansea on Tuesday.

Mkhitaryan struggled to pin down a regular starting spot at Old Trafford and was played in a variety of attacking roles during his 18 months at the club.

Mourinho has been criticised for an unwillingness to let his attacking players off the leash in big games despite the rich resources at his disposal.

Mkhitaryan, 29, said in an interview with UEFA back in 2009 that he wanted to play for Arsenal and he has now turned that dream into reality.

“Of course it’s very important to have respect from your manager,” he told Arsenal Player. “I know that he’s demanding and he likes his players to explore.

“He was one of the (reasons) to join Arsenal as well because everyone knows he’s a great manager.

“I’ve known him for a long time and of course it was not very difficult to make this decision to come to Arsenal, because I think the way that Arsenal play (make) it a dream for every player to come here and play offensive football.”

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