Manchester City to splash big on defensive starlets

Manchester City are prepared to pay £80 million to sign Aymeric Laporte and John Stones to give new coach Pep Guardiola the long-term centre-back partnership he wants, according to the Daily Express.

The Citizen’s squad is set to undergo a major revamp when the current Bayern coach arrives during the summer, with the Spaniard already confirmed as Manuel Pellegrini’s successor at the Emirates.

Their season so far has shown that the area of most concern will be the heart of their defence, as captain Vincent Kompany has suffered a set of serious injuries this season and the trio of Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi, and Martin Demichelis has failed to live up to the expectations.

Laporte, a 21-year-old France international, has a £40 million buyout clause in his contract at Spanish club Athletic Bilbao, but has also been linked with Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Everton rejected a £38 million bid from Chelsea last summer for 21-year-old John Stones, but are already bracing themselves for a huge City bid which they would find difficult to turn down after their poor form this season.

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