Aymeric Laporte
Aymeric Laporte is reportedly in agreement to join Manchester CityGetty Images

Pep Guardiola will make Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte his first signing as Manchester City manager, according to Marca. Laporte, 21, has garnered a reputation as one of Europe's brightest young defenders and has been increasingly linked with a move to Barcelona. Luis Enrique had reportedly earmarked him as a priority target ahead of the summer transfer window.

Catalan daily Sport have previously claimed, however, that Manchester City were leading the race for the centre half's signature, claiming there was an "agreement in principle" made between Laporte and the Premier League side earlier in March.

Marca now claim a deal will be struck this summer with City ready to meet his €50 million (£39.4m, $55.8m) release clause. Guardiola himself has reportedly played an influential role in convincing the France Under-21 international to move to the Premier League side, where he will make him a key figure in his new project at the Etihad Stadium.

City CEO Ferrán Soriano, and the club's director of football, Txiki Begiristain, will reportedly back the deal that will eclipse the club's move for Nicolas Otamendi from Valencia last summer.

Athletic have proven to be tough negotiators in the transfer market in recent years and have successfully prevented their former players from leaving for a penny less than their full release clause. Manchester United learned this when they were made to pay full price for Ander Herrera in the summer of 2014, while Bayern Munich were made to activate Javi Martinez's €40m buyout clause in 2012.

Any agreement between Laporte and Manchester City would act as an early blow to Barcelona's summer plans. Barcelona's international advisor Ariedo Braida recently admitted the club's priority for the summer is to find a long-term partner for Gerard Pique in defence.

Mundo Deportivo are another to claim the Basque defender was the club's first choice to address their long-standing issues at centre half. Everton's John Stones, Chelsea starlet Andreas Christensen, currently impressing on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach and Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos are others reportedly being considered.