Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte is expected to travel to England on 29 January to undergo a medical ahead of his £57m ($80m) transfer to Manchester City.

BBC Sport reports that City will activate the French centre-back's release clause, making him the most expensive signing in the club's history, eclipsing the £55m paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.

Laporte is expected to sign a five-year deal at the Etihad Stadium, and is likely to serve as the long-term central defensive partner to John Stones.

City manager Pep Guardiola could also use the 23-year-old at left-back in the absence of Benjamin Mendy, who has been out of action since September with a cruciate ligament injury.

Guardiola was tight-lipped when questioned about Laporte's imminent arrival over the weekend.

"He's a player of Athletic Bilbao," the City boss was reported as saying by Sky Sports. "I didn't speak about previous players or talk about that in here so I will not do that. You will know if it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't happen."

Guardiola has made the signing of a centre-back a priority of the January window due to his lack of confidence in Eliaquim Mangala and captain Vincent Kompany's fitness issues.

Aymeric Laporte
Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte is poised to complete a £57m move to Manchester City Getty Images

The Premier League leaders were linked with a move for Virgil van Dijk, but the Dutch centre-back joined Liverpool from Southampton in a £75m move earlier this month.

City also missed out on the signing of Alexis Sanchez, with the Chile international joining arch rivals Manchester United from Arsenal instead.

Guardiola said over the weekend that there was a limit to City's spending power and that the club could not always compete with rivals in the transfer market.

"Today 22 top players is too expensive to buy, even [for] City," the Spaniard was reported as saying.

"Their salaries we cannot pay. There are budgets for the transfers and we cannot pay. In the future, it may change but we haven't paid more than £80m-£100m for one player. We cannot pay that right now, it is the truth."