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Man City looking to land Basque boy Aymeric Laporte?

Manchester City, 4/1 with Coral in the betting without Chelsea market, have identified France Under-21 international Aymeric Laporte as a key target to strengthen their defence this summer, according to reports online.

Basque Country native Laporte presently plays for La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao, where he has enjoyed Champions League football this term.

Undeterred by Eliaquim Mangala’s struggles since signing from Porto last summer, the Etihad hierarchy, notably fellow Basque born City director of football Txiki Begiristain, have had 20-year-old left-footed centre back Laporte watched by Spanish scout Rob Newman.

Several of Man City’s high-profile signings have come from La Liga, with David Silva and Sergio Aguero being the main examples. Bilbao has also been something of a hotbed for talent, with the likes of Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Fernando Llorente (Juventus) and Ander Herrera (Manchester United) making major moves from the San Mames.

Laporte will surpass 100 senior games for Athletic by the end of this term, with his CV already including 11 European outings. Any move for him by City is expected to be in excess of £25m, with a reported release clause of £30m understood to be in his contract and something they believe can be negotiated around.

Signing another central defender means the Etihad hierarchy face decisions over the futures of a few fringe players. Serbia international Matija Nastasic has already agreed a permanent transfer to Bundesliga outfit Schalke, which will be formally completed this summer.

Dedryck Boyata’s prospects look bleak, while fellow Belgium cap Jason Denayer has impressed on loan at Celtic and Karim Rekik scooped silverware as PSV Eindhoven recently wrapped up the Dutch Eredivisie title, so he may want to stay on there.

Laporte’s main competition for a place at City alongside club captain Vincent Kompany would come from compatriot Mangala, though ageing Argentina international Martin Demichelis’ own chances may rest with whether manager Manuel Pellegrini remains in charge.

City are 12/1 chances to finish outside the top four; an occurrence which Chilean coach Pellegrini has freely admitted may result in him being sacked.