Premier League side Manchester City have accepted an undisclosed bid for defender Aymeric Laporte from Saudi Pro League club Al-Nassr.
The 29-year-old defender struggled for playing time last season given the outstanding form of Nathan Ake, and has further slipped down the pecking order in Pep Guardiola’s squad following the arrival of Croatia international Josko Gvardiol.
The Spain international is currently in Athens for Wednesday’s Super Cup final against Sevilla, but the PA news agency understands he could soon be linking up with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane and Alex Telles after Al-Nassr launched a move.
Laporte joined City from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018 and became a key member of the side, part of all five Premier League title-winning seasons under Pep Guardiola, also lifting the FA Cup twice, the Carabao Cup three times and the Champions League trophy last term.
Laporte was a late substitute in City’s opening Premier League match of the season, a 3-0 win at Burnley on Friday night, as Gvardiol also came off the bench to make his debut.
Meanwhile, Guardiola is determined to cap Manchester City’s “extraordinary” Champions League triumph by winning a first ever UEFA Super Cup.
Last season’s treble-clinching victory against Inter Milan secured Wednesday’s clash against Europa League victors Sevilla at Olympiacos’ Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece.
Guardiola can become the first manager to win the competition with three different clubs but this is a first taste of Super Cup action for City.
“To be here in this press conference ahead of tomorrow you have to do two extraordinary things: win the Champions League or Europa League,” he said in Piraeus.
“I have to say this is not easy. Maybe for Sevilla it’s easier because they have won a lot of Europa Leagues. I remember once when they beat Barcelona 3-0 in the Super Cup.
“They have a special character. The resilience in the bad moments, to play the finals. It’s not always necessary to play top level always but they have something in their DNA that makes this team and this club different.
“They are mentally so strong but you cannot imagine how incredibly happy we are to be here, to play this game because you have to win the Champions League.
“This is an opportunity we want to take because who knows when we will be back here to play this tournament.”
Sevilla won on their Super Cup debut in 2006 but the perennial Europa League winners are now looking to avoid a sixth straight defeat on this stage.
There are a number of familiar faces in Jose Luis Mendilibar’s squad, including former City players Fernando and Jesus Navas.
“Knowing what I know now, maybe I would have extended the contract when we were together after the first season,” Guardiola said of Sevilla captain Navas.
“We took a decision because we were an old team in that period. We needed to refresh mentally the team. That’s why we make in that year a lot of changes.
“But it’s incredible for him to be at 37, 38 playing and I know how committed he is to his club, captain of Sevilla. I am really pleased to see him tomorrow and say hi to him.”