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Financial flex: Man City sign Laporte for $80 million

Lionel Messi, Aymeric Laporte

FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte in action during Copa del Rey, 16 round, against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. 23-year-old Athletic Bilbao says defender Frenchman Aymeric Laporte is reported Monday Jan. 29, 2018, to have paid his buyout clause, looks set to leave the club, opening the way for a transfer to Manchester City. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, FILE)

AP

Let’s pretend, for a brief moment, that Manchester City’s current does indeed have a weakness — what would you, the layman to Pep Guardiola’s genius, say that weakness is?

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You might contend that they are were a bit thin defensively, especially given captain Vincent Kompany’s eternal struggle with injuries. You might even be have been right until.

Enter: Man City’s newest $80-million signing — 23-year-old center back Aymeric Laporte, from Athletic Bilbao. The 6-foot-3, yet-to-be-capped Frenchman was officially announced as the club’s first January signing on Tuesday.

All snark about City’s financial flexing aside, with four trophies still in play this season, a reliable third center back was sorely needed during the January window. Laporte should immediately compete with Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones for starter’s minutes.

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Following their capture of Laporte, City have now signed four of the five most expensive defenders in the history of transfers: Laporte ($80 million), Benjamin Mendy ($70 million), Kyle Walker ($70 million), Stones ($68 million), Eliaquim Mangala ($65 million). Only Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool’s $100-million man, got away.

Follow @AndyEdMLS