After losing out on Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, Pep Guardiola is reportedly close to completing his first January signing, with a €65 million target understood to have "agreed" to join Manchester City.
The Spaniard was close to signing Sanchez before Jose Mourinho's side hijacked the deal at the last minute. As a consequence, Guardiola is keen to push ahead with his other transfer targets in order to avoid a similar situation.
City are now reportedly ready to pay Aymeric Laporte's €65 million (R959 million) buyout clause after the defender "agreed" to join the Premier League leaders, according to Marca.
Guardiola wanted Laporte in 2016, when the player's release clause was set at €50 million (R738 million). However, the centre back decided to stay in LaLiga, agreeing a new contract, which included the €65 million buyout clause.
His current deal expires in 2020, but after July this year his release clause will rise to €70 million (R1.03 billion).
Guardiola is keen to wrap up the deal in this window in order to prevent any other team from snapping up the player like United did with Sanchez, who almost joined City on deadline day in August before making a switch to their crosstown rivals this week.
Laporte, who came through Bilbao's youth ranks, has made 222 appearances for Athletic since making his debut for the senior side in December 2012.
Do you think City need to sign another defender in this window? Have your say in the comments section below.