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Aymeric Laporte became the second most expensive defender in the history of football this week. The former Athletic Bilbao man is also the second most expensive defender this month. Now that’s market inflation.
Laporte has not yet been capped by France, which will no doubt be mentioned if he ever makes a mistake. That’s not necessarily his fault, however, given the plethora of superb centre-backs are available for Didier Deschamps.
He has been highly-regarded around Europe since breaking through at the San Mames Stadium in 2012/13. Manchester City have been linked with him on a regular basis over the past few windows, with a deal seemingly inevitable last summer, though that never came to fruition.
City have then embarked on the best Premier League season we have ever seen. Pep Guardiola’s side flirted with invincibility until a recent defeat to Liverpool, and remain well and truly on course for an historic season. Investment in the January window was expected, even if it was hardly deemed urgent by the majority. The Premier League title is already theirs.
That’s not enough for this edition of Manchester City, though. World dominance is on the agenda, and City are perfectly poised to do it. They have not just a superb squad, but a squad littered with players who will yet improve. Oh, and the world’s best manager.
This transfer window has shown what City are aiming for. Laporte is eligible for the Champions League, and will – as you would expect from a £57 million player – be immediately in contention to start matches.
Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have both been superb this season, but City are bolstering their squad. Even if Laporte does not establish himself in the best team before the end of this term, these few months will allow him to adapt to the ways of Guardiola and English football.
It’s an addition for the future as much as it is for their multiple-trophy push in 2018. Plenty of clubs in a position of such comfort and hope as City would remain silent in January. Their decision not to reflects an ambition we have seldom seen in English football, even in the dominant Ferguson years at Manchester United.
Yes, it might be a defence worth nearly a quarter of a billion, but will that really matter if City reign supreme for the next five years? I doubt it will, somehow.
City have addressed the most minor of weaknesses from a position of already domineering strength. That’s a scary prospect for any club in world football.
Written by Sam Cox
Follow Sam on Twitter @SamRCox_
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