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Manchester City sign Aymeric Laporte for club record fee

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Manchester City have announced the signing of French defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for a club record fee of £57m.

Laporte, 23, has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract at the Etihad, and will wear the number 14 shirt.

The signing of the Frenchman takes City manager Pep Guardiola’s spending on defenders and a goalkeeper since the end of last season to £215.5m.

“I am looking forward to working under manager Pep Guardiola and trying to help the club to achieve success,” he told the City website.

“It means a lot that the club have shown faith in me and I am excited to get started.”

In a news conference on Tuesday to preview Wednesday’s Premier League match against West Brom, the City boss defended the club’s spending in 2017-18’s two transfer windows.

“I understand the criticism, but we have spent £300m on six players,” said Guardiola, adding the £43m spent on midfielder Bernardo Silva to the outlay on defensive players.

“Others have done it on two. We had a lot of older players out of contract. To compete we needed to spend. A club can decide to spend on two players. We did it in a different way.

“We understand the inflation of the market. We have spent on six players and others have done it in one or two. We accept criticism, but more important is that they play well.”

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