Highly-rated defender Aymeric Laporte has signed fresh terms with Athletic Bilbao that will see him stay at the club until 2020, thereby dashing Manchester City’s hopes of landing him for the new season.
The French defender had been ready to move to Manchester in a £39million deal worth a reputed £6.3m a season but he has turned it down to stay in Spain and become the best-paid player in Athletic’s history on a more modest £4m a year.
Laporte is out until September with a broken leg and dislocated ankle but has recently resumed light training and was one of City manager Pep Guardiola’s requested targets for the summer.
But City are believed to be relaxed about him staying in Spain and had reservations that he was expensive at such a young age, not yet the finished article and that his injury was a concern.
Laporte’s new contract now has a release clause set at £51.5m, which will rise to £55m in 2018.
The 22-year-old has Basque heritage and came through the Athletic system, playing for their B team before making his first team debut in 2012. He has made more than 100 appearances for the San Mames side.
City remain in pursuit of Everton defender John Stones and have also discussed moving for Brazilian Marquinhos from Paris Saint Germain.
The Etihad club are still interested in Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, although the Germans are reluctant to sell, and have enquired about Schalke’s Leroy Sane and Celta Vigo striker Nolito.