Manchester City are set to trigger the release clause of Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte, according to reports in Spain.
City have struggled defensively this season and one of Pep Guardiola’s first tasks when he takes over in July will be to find a new centre-back partner for Vincent Kompany.
Marca claims Bilbao are desperate to keep hold of the Frenchman, but he will be free to leave if City meet his £39m buyout fee.
City officials have reportedly been in Spain recently to begin negotiations with Bilbao and the player’s representatives and are confident of tying up a deal before the season ends.
Laporte, the France Under-21 captain, has made 149 appearances for the Basque club and has played a key role in their run to the Europa League quarter-finals this season.