Aymeric Laporte is poised to hand Pep Guardiola a major boost after receiving clearance to step up his recovery from recent knee surgery. The Manchester City and France central defender underwent an operation last month to repair damaged cartilage and lateral ligament he sustained playing in the 4-0 demolition of Brighton & Hove Albion.
Pep Guardiola’s team have certainly missed his massive influence at the heart of their defence, since losing twice in the Premier League to Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The initial reports were the £52m former Athletic Bilbao defender could be sidelined until March, sparking suggestions the Citizens will splash the cash to recruit a replacement when the January transfer window opens.
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Laporte, however, is already back in the gym at City’s training campus and posted footage of himself on Monday leg-pressing in the gym, with the teasing message of ‘one more day of work, one day left to come back! Good feelings!’
That has City fans now dreaming the 25-year-old will be back playing again before the end of the year, as the champions attempt to stay in title touch with leaders Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
And club sources have confirmed Laporte is making ‘big strides’ during his rehabilitation, with his doctors in Barcelona now comfortable for him to resume outdoor work in the coming days.
Laporte has established himself as one of the best defenders in the league following his club-record move to Manchester in January 2018, becoming a key component for Guardiola.
The City boss is presently having to rely on the erratic form of Nicolas Otamendi in addition to midfielder Fernandinho, presenting opponents with more opportunities to get at his team from an aerial standpoint.
The Manchester giants are currently ‘maxed-out’ on their allowable foreign quota of 17 players, meaning any early return for Laporte would certainly solve a headache Guardiola can do without.
For now, though, City will have to make do without their defensive rock as they prepare to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.