Aymeric Laporte leaves Manchester City for Al Nassr, 27.5 million euros transfer
Posted : 24 August 2023
Spain defender Aymeric Laporte has departed Manchester City to join Saudi Pro League outfit Al Nassr in a transfer deal valued at 27.5 million euros (£23.6 million).
Laporte, aged 29, originally signed for City in January 2018, making a switch from Athletic Bilbao for a then-record £57 million fee. During his tenure with the club, he contributed to securing 12 major trophies. Nevertheless, he played a limited role last season, featuring in only 24 matches as City achieved the Treble.
In a farewell message posted on social media, Laporte expressed gratitude to fans and teammates, describing his time at the club as "unforgettable." He recounted the range of experiences he encountered, from victories and setbacks to injuries and triumphs, all of which have shaped his journey. He affirmed his ongoing support for City and looked forward to reuniting with the fans.
Laporte amassed a total of 180 appearances for City, scoring 12 goals. However, his playing time was curtailed in the previous season as manager Pep Guardiola opted to utilize defenders Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake more frequently. City's recent acquisition of Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol for £77 million further impacted Laporte's opportunities.
City's Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain, praised Laporte's contributions to the club, noting his seamless integration since his arrival in 2018. Begiristain acknowledged Laporte's vital role in the team's successes and respected his decision to seek new challenges elsewhere due to reduced game time in the past season.
In international football, Laporte shifted his allegiance from France to Spain in May 2021. He has since earned 22 caps for Spain and was part of the team that won the UEFA Nations League final in June.
Laporte is the latest prominent player to join Al Nassr, a club that has attracted the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, Alex Telles, and Seko Fofana. Al Nassr is one of four Saudi Pro League teams that underwent acquisition by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) in June, alongside Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal, and Al-Ahli.
The trend of high-profile players moving to Saudi Arabia includes Laporte's former City teammate Riyad Mahrez, who joined Al-Ahli in a deal worth up to £30 million. Other footballers like Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, and Neymar have also made similar moves to Saudi Arabian clubs during the summer transfer window.
After his three-and-a-half-year stint with City, Laporte leaves the Etihad having made a significant impact, participating in 180 matches and contributing to the club's five Premier League victories since his arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.