Aymeric Laporte injury: Manuel Akanji signed as Manchester City defender out until October

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji

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Pep Guardiola expects Aymeric Laporte to be sidelined until after the international break, having outlined the reasoning behind Manchester City’s late move for Dortmund centre-back Manuel Akanji.

Akanji has become City’s fifth senior centre-half following his €17.5m move from the Bundesliga side and will compete with Laporte, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Nathan Aké for a starting place.

City have not been able to call upon Laporte since he underwent knee surgery in July, while Aké has struggled with muscular issues since the start of the campaign.

Guardiola revealed on Friday that Laporte is now not expected to return until early October, after the upcoming international break.

“We had four incredible centre defenders,” he said, ahead of City’s trip to play Aston Villa. “But sometimes… Aymer [Laporte] had a tough injury. He’s getting better but he won’t be back within a month or two.

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“Aké had some muscular problems. We couldn’t live with just two centre-backs with this schedule.

On the timeframe for Laporte’s return, Guardiola added: “I think that he will start being ready after the international break, but we will not rush him back.

“He had a knee injury, a tough one. I also can’t forget how Aymer played in the last games of last season, especially West Ham away and Aston Villa, when we had no alternatives and he played with this injury.

“Back then Ruben (Dias) and Nathan (Ake) were injured too, and that’s another reason why we went for Manuel Akanji, so it will be fine. Laporte had a bone problem, but I’m not a doctor.”

Akanji has signed a five-year deal at the Etihad having fallen down the pecking order at Dortmund, who signed the highly-rated Nico Schlotterbeck as well as Niklas Sule during the summer.

“We had the opportunity to bring a player with one year left on his contract, huge experience,” Guardiola said on Akanji. “Perfect for what we need, fast, good in the build-up. We felt it when we played against Dortmund.”

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