Impending Manchester City signing Aymeric Laporte still has to improve in almost every area, according to Sky Sports pundit Terry Gibson.
The French defender is set to complete a £57m move to the Premier League leaders from Athletic Bilbao, but Gibson believes the 23-year-old is far from the finished article.
Laporte, who is yet to be capped by France, has made over 200 appearances for Athletic after coming through their Lezama academy.
“Some players have an inevitability about a big-money transfer, so this has gone on for four or five seasons. I must admit three seasons ago, four seasons ago and he was 15, 20, 25m euros and I said I wanted to see more evidence he was worth that money. Now it’s 65 (million euros),” Gibson said.
“He has the basic attributes and it has been benefited his career that he started at such a young age at such a big club like Athletic Bilbao.”
Jon Driscoll and La Liga expert Terry Gibson take a look at Aymeric Laporte, the latest player set to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City
Gibson says Laporte has a number of weaknesses which Pep Guardiola will need to work on with his new defender to make him worth the investment.
He said: “The saving grace, I think, for Laporte is that Guardiola is going to be his manager, he’s one of those managers who improves young players, and Laporte is still a young player. I have concerns about him as a centre-back, I think he needs to be more physical, his concentration needs to be better, I think he takes too many liberties at times.”
Laporte is used to playing a more direct style than City operate with under Guardiola so he will need to adjust his passing range.
“His attributes are he wants to play out the back, he doesn’t mind a long pass forward, that’s the style of Athletic Bilbao, but he essentially wants to come out the back but he can take chances at times,” Gibson said. “It will be interesting to see what Pep Guardiola does about that, as that’s what he encourages his defenders to do. He has to eradicate mistakes.”
The increased pace of the Premier League could cause additional problems for the Frenchman, who is prone to lapses in concentration, a problem which has seen Guardiola lack faith in Laporte’s compatriot Eliaquim Mangala.
“To be honest, I think he’s the type of centre-half I would have liked to have played against as he gives you an opportunity,” Gibson said.
“I think he’s quick but not lightning quick, I think he’s strong but not very strong, he’s good in the air but that wouldn’t have bothered me anyway, he does give you a chance, so that’s the type of weaknesses you’d expect Guardiola to improve but it’s amazing you’re paying 65m (euros) for someone that still has a lot of room for improvement.”
“I think it is the ideal place to improve. He will improve by playing with better players under Pep Guardiola, so be patient with him.”