Transfer roundup live: Manchester City signs Laporte, now in for Riyad Mahrez?

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/aymeric-laporte/" data-ylk="slk:Aymeric Laporte">Aymeric Laporte</a> playing for Athletic Bilbao. (Getty)
Aymeric Laporte playing for Athletic Bilbao. (Getty)

With less than 48 hours to go until the January transfer window deadline, FC Yahoo will be keeping you up to date on all the latest reports, rumors and done deals as we charge toward 6 p.m. ET on Jan. 31.

Below is a rundown of the top news from the penultimate day of the window. Join us again tomorrow, on deadline day, for live, up-to-the-minute coverage of one of the silliest days in sports.

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Aymeric Laporte | Athletic Bilbao —> Manchester City — City has triggered Laporte’s $80.8 million release clause, and will pay that, plus reportedly over $6 million in training compensation, to make the 23-year-old French center back its most expensive signing ever. City officially announced the deal early Tuesday.

The $80-plus million is also the second-highest fee ever shelled out for a defender, which has perked up some eyebrows in Manchester and around England. Before City’s interest, Laporte was far from a household name. He had several solid professional seasons after joining Bilbao as a 16-year-old, but has never been considered one of the top defenders in the world.

He’s therefore the latest litmus test for Pep Guardiola’s eye for talent. The left-footer certainly fits the Guardiola blueprint. He’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, and much stronger winning duels in space than in the air in a crowded penalty box. The thought is that he’ll be City’s third center back for now, with the ability to fill in for John Stones if the 23-year-old Englishman falters. He’s also likely the long-term replacement for Nicolas Otamendi.

We likely won’t know for a few years whether Laporte was worth the $80-plus million. But we know better than to doubt Guardiola right now.

Inigo Martinez | Real Sociedad —> Athletic Bilbao — Bilbao has navigated Man City’s Laporte courtship well. On the same day that deal got done, the Basque club had his replacement lined up. Shortly after City’s announcement, Bilbao confirmed it had paid Inigo Martinez’s $39.8 million release clause.

Emerson Palmieri | Roma —> Chelsea — Roma’s backup left back heads to London, presumably to become Chelsea’s backup left back. Surely he won’t unseat Marcos Alonso, one of the best in the Premier League, right? At best, there’ll be a rotation. The fee is reportedly $24 million.

Marc Bartra | Borussia Dortmund —> Real Betis — Bartra had an up-and-down spell at Dortmund after leaving Barcelona, his boyhood club. Now he heads back to Spain, for a reported fee of $13 million, on a five-and-a-half year deal.

Ahmed Musa | Leicester City —> CSKA Moscow — Musa arrived with a bit of fanfare and promise, but in his brief Premier League cameos, he’s been full of pace and not much else. He heads back to Russia on loan until the end of the season.

Roque Mesa | Swansea —> Sevilla — A loan until season’s end for the midfielder who has looked rather ordinary in Wales since his summer arrival.

Jack Harrison | New York City FC —> Manchester City —> Middlesbrough — OK, so this is a complicated one, because it involves MLS, which is a complicated league. Harrison was born in England, moved to America as a teenager and emerged in MLS with NYCFC. He is now going back to England. But rather than go to Stoke City, as had been rumored, he’s going to Middlesbrough via Man City.

If NYCFC had sold Harrison directly to a British club, money-loving MLS would have taken 50 percent of the transfer fee, per its slightly absurd rules. MLS will still get 50 percent of whatever Man City’s fee is – reportedly around $5.5 million, significantly lower than what Stoke City was bidding. But City Football Group, which runs both clubs, will then have the power to sell Harrison on without MLS getting in the way. It’s shady business, because CFG and MLS are shady businesses. But that’s as well as we can explain it with the available information.

Harrison will head to Middlesbrough on loan in the meantime. He could be sold permanently as soon as the summer.

Sandro | Everton —> Sevilla — The Toffees appear to have decided pretty quickly that the Spaniard isn’t Premier League material. Or at least not yet. The 22-year-old forward will head to Sevilla on loan until season’s end, provided he passes a medical.

Dodi Lukebakio | Anderlecht —> Watford — The second winger to join Watford in two days, after Gerard Deulofeu. This one is a permanent deal for the 20-year-old Belgian-Congolese attacker.

Sergio Gomez | Barcelona —> Borussia Dortmund — Gomez is 17. Dortmund continues to swoop in for some of the top youngsters around Europe, no matter the size of the incumbent club.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pending move to Arsenal, which will apparently involve a three-way striker swap also including Chelsea, appears set to go ahead. Chelsea and Arsenal have reportedly agreed to a $25 million deal for Olivier Giroud.

The Giroud deal, as the BBC’s David Ornstein has explained, will allow Chelsea to loan Michy Batshuayi to Dortmund, which will lead Dortmund to finally sanction the Aubameyang sale.

But … Giroud played for Arsenal on Tuesday at Swansea. Which is wild, especially if a move actually is imminent.

Aubameyang, meanwhile, arrived in London, and eventually Arsenal’s training ground, on Tuesday. But with Giroud over in Wales, no deal could be signed off on Tuesday. So to deadline day we go.

PSG winger Lucas Moura has been pictured in London, and appears set to join Tottenham for a fee in the region of $35 million.

Could Manchester City break its transfer record twice in a day?  Guardiola said Tuesday that, following that deal for Laporte, City was probably – 95 percent – done with transfer business until the summer. But that left some room to maneuver. And around the same time, rumors surfaced that the Premier League leaders were contemplating a late swoop for Riyad Mahrez. And, according to a few of the reports, they’re doing more than just contemplating.

One report says Leicester will require a “mind-blowing” offer. If so, does $84.6 million qualify? That’s what City has reportedly bid. Another, more reputable report, says City have put in three separate bids today, the latest being $77.8 million offer.

This has come completely out of left field, and really doesn’t make much sense for a club chock full of attacking talent. It appears as a knee-jerk reaction to Leroy Sane’s injury, which will keep the German winger out for roughly too months. But City hasn’t been known to make knee-jerk reactions.

Nonetheless, we’ll monitor the situation. Mahrez has reportedly handed in a transfer request in an attempt to push the deal through.


Badou Ndiaye | Galatasaray —> Stoke City — The Potters have reportedly agreed a $21.2 million fee for the 27-year-old midfielder. He’d be a sollid complement to Joe Allen in the center of the park.


Mauro Icardi | Inter Milan —> Real Madrid — There were out-of-nowhere reports Monday night that Icardi was bound for Madrid to complete a stunning move to the Spanish capital. Now the Argentinean striker is turning to cryptic Instagram posts:

Chau Chau

A post shared by Mauro Icardi (@mauroicardi) on Jan 29, 2018 at 10:48am PST

“Being able to say goodbye is to grow.” Well then.

Javier Pastore | PSG —> Inter Milan — It had reportedly been close, but now is close to falling through, according to L’Equipe in France. PSG needs to sell to comply with Financial Fair Play. Lucas Moura’s move will help in that regard, but the Parisians also hoped to recoup a fee for Pastore. Inter, however, might only be able to cope with a loan.

Lazar Markovic | Liverpool —> Swansea — The Serbian winger it completely out of the picture at Anfield. The Swans are reportedly in talks with Liverpool about reviving his career.


(Chronological order)

Sandro | Everton —> Sevilla (loan)
Emerson Palmieri | Roma —> Chelsea ($24 million)
Marc Bartra | Borussia Dortmund —> Real Betis ($13 million)
Dodi Lukebakio | Anderlecht —> Watford
Jack Harrison | New York City FC —> Manchester City ($5.7 million)
Jack Harrison | Manchester City —> Middlesbrough (loan)
Inigo Martinez | Real Sociedad —> Athletic Bilbao ($39.8 million)
Roque Mesa | Swansea —> Sevilla (loan)
Ahmed Musa | Leicester City —> CSKA Moscow (loan)
Aymeric Laporte | Athletic Bilbao —> Manchester City ($80.8 million)
Charly Musonda | Chelsea —> Celtic (loan)
Daniel Sturridge | Liverpool —> West Brom (loan)
Gerard Deulofeu | Barcelona —> Watford (loan)
Miguel Layun | Porto —> Sevilla (loan)
Pietro Pellegri | Genoa —> Monaco ($24.6 million)
Baba Rahman | Chelsea —> Schalke (loan)
Diafra Sakho | West Ham —> Rennes ($12.4 million)
Ali Gabr | Zamalek —> West Brom (loan)
Leonardo Ulloa | Leicester City —> Brighton (loan)
Joao Mario | Inter Milan —> West Ham (loan)
Nikola Maksimovic | Napoli —> Spartak Moscow (loan)
Guido Carrillo | Monaco —> Southampton ($27.2 million)
Gabriel Barbosa | Inter Milan —> Santos (loan)
Neven Subotic | Borussia Dortmund —> Saint-Etienne (free)
Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla | Montreal Impact —> Barcelona (undisclosed)
Axel Tuanzebe | Manchester United —> Aston Villa (loan)
Lassana Diarra | PSG (free)

Aaron Lennon | Everton —> Burnley (undisclosed)
Kenedy | Chelsea —> Newcastle (loan)
Jaroslaw Jach | Zaglebie Lubin —> Crystal Palace ($2 million)
Javier Mascherano | Barcelona —> Habei ($12.3 million)
Rafinha | Barcelona —> Inter Milan (loan)
Alexis Sanchez | Arsenal —> Manchester United (swap)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan | Manchester United —> Arsenal (swap)
Leon Goretzka | Schalke —> Bayern Munich (summer, free)

Jurgen Locadia | PSV Eindhoven —> Brighton (19.5 million)
Ezequiel Barco | Independiente —> Atlanta United ($15 million)
Robin van Persie | Fenerbahce —> Feyenoord (free)
Kostas Stafylidis | Augsburg —> Stoke City (loan)
Cedric Bakambu | Villarreal —> Beijing Guoan ($49 million)
Theo Walcott | Arsenal —> Everton ($27.6 million)
Martin Hongla | Grenada —> Barcelona (loan) 
Lisandro Lopez | Benfica —> Inter Milan (loan)
Manuel Akanji | FC Basel —> Borussia Dortmund ($27 million)
Alex Pritchard | Norwich City —> Huddersfield Town ($16.6 million)
Yerry Mina | Palmeiras —> Barcelona ($14.2 million)
Francis Coquelin | Arsenal —> Valencia ($14.4 million)
Fousseni Diabate | Gazélec Ajaccio —> Leicester City ($4.8 million)
Renato Steffen | FC Basel —> Wolfsburg ($2 million)
Mark Uth | Hoffenheim —> Schalke (summer, free)
Moritz Bauer | Rubin Kazan —> Stoke City ($6.8 million)
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou | Tottenham —> Burnley (loan)
Kevin Mirallas | Everton —> Olympiacos (loan)
Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool —> Barcelona ($192.5 million)
Cenk Tosun | Besiktas —> Everton ($36.5 million)
Wesley Sneijder | Nice —> Al-Gharafa (undisclosed)
Ross Barkley | Everton —> Chelsea ($20.3 million)
Marko Pjaca | Juventus —> Schalke (loan)
Konstantinos Mavropanos | PAS Giannina —> Arsenal ($2.4 million)

Terence Kongolo | Monaco —> Huddersfield Town (loan)

Virgil van Dijk | Southampton —> Liverpool ($101.4 million)
Diego Costa | Chelsea —> Atletico Madrid (€71.5 million)
Adrien Silva | Sporting CP —> Leicester City ($29.8 million)

Previous rumor roundups: Jan. 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 29

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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