MEN: City ‘agree’ deal for Laporte
- 27 February 2016 08:51
- Posted by @MPHenson
Rumours about the French defender, plus plenty of previews ahead of the Capital One Cup final…
We start our round-up with a transfer rumour from the Manchester Evening News, via Spanish publication Sport, who say that City have agreed a deal in principle with Athletic Bilbao for Aymeric Laporte.
The 21-year old has also been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the past, but reports from Spain believe that City have won the chase for the French defender.
James Dixon writes: “Manchester City have agreed a deal for Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, according to reports in Spain.
“The Frenchman has been touted as one of the best defensive talents in Europe with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United all linked with moves for the 21-year-old.
“But it looks as though the defender is set to join City with Spanish publication Sport claiming that the Blues have agreed a deal in principle with Athletic.
“Although Sport don’t reveal the transfer fee for Laporte, the Frenchman is believed to have a £39.4million release clause after the player signed a new contract last summer.
“The 21-year-old has already enjoyed an excellent education in La Liga having already made more than 100 appearances for the Basque club.”
The Spanish midfielder is quoted as saying: “I think we really need to be focused and really on it during the game for the whole 90 minutes.
“We realised that at one or two key times in the game at home that you referred to there were one or two errors made at key times in the game.
“We’re very mindful of the fact we don’t want to repeat that. We’ve learned from that and hopefully from the confidence that we’ve got currently we’ll be able to have a really concentrated effort on Sunday.
“We’re very confident with our chances for all the competitions that we remain in.
“Obviously we’re well placed in the Champions League, we’ve got this final coming up on Sunday, and we’re not far off the pace either, we’re pretty well positioned in the league so everything to fight for and confidence is high.
“It’s a fantastic atmosphere down at Wembley, we’re always really up for it and I am in particular. It was a great confidence boost to score in my first game there and it was great to win. Fine to score but even better to have won the cup.”
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Kolo states that it would be ‘amazing’ to play against him at Wembley as well as stating that there will be no contact between the two ahead of the final.
James Pearce scribes: “Kolo Toure says he’s ready to go to “war” with his brother in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
“It will be the first time the veteran Liverpool centre-back has faced Manchester City’s Yaya Toure in a major final and there will be no contact between them prior to Sunday’s showdown.
“’If we’re both out on that pitch then it’s going to be amazing to play against him in a final,’ Kolo told the ECHO.
“’I hope to face him. If not, the most important thing is that my team win.
“’There will be no fraternising with Yaya before Sunday - no phone calls, no messages, no feeling.
“’We are both going to war. We will both want to win and then we will talk after.”
“’Kolo, who is two years older than the City midfielder, admits their family will be divided.
“’Yaya is closer to some, I am closer to others,’ he said.
“’At the end one of us will come out on top.’”
James Wheeler states: “The first silverware of the season will be decided on Sunday as Liverpool meet Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final.
“With cup finals often tense and tight affairs, the performances on the day of Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge could go a long way to deciding which team is celebrating at Wembley on Sunday evening.
“Since his debut, Sturridge has started 62 of Liverpool's 165 games in all competitions due to a variety of injuries.
“It's significant too. Liverpool have suffered only nine defeats in Sturridge's 62 starts, winning 65 per cent of those games. Without him starting, the Reds' win percentage drops to only 41 per cent and they average nearly a goal less per game.
“He (Aguero) has the best minutes-to-goal ratio in all competitions among Premier League players this season, scoring every 106 minutes. His form in front of goal in 2016 has been equally impressive with a tally of 10 in 11 appearances.”
The article continues by stating: “He is yet to find the net in four cup final appearances including the 2013 FA Cup and 2014 League Cup finals for City. His only Wembley goal was in the 2013 FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea.”