Laporte leaves Man City to join Ronaldo and Mane in Saudi as Chelsea signs Brazilian striker

Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Bayern during a friendly soccer match at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, July 26, 2023.(AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Spain center back Aymeric Laporte is heading to Saudi Arabia to play with Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane after losing his place in Manchester City's expensively assembled defense.

The 29-year-old Laporte is joining Al Nassr, City said on Thursday, for a reported fee of 23.5 million pounds ($30 million).

Chelsea, meanwhile, took its spending in this transfer window to around $400 million by signing 18-year-old Brazilian striker Deivid Washington from Santos for a fee reportedly in the region of $22 million.

Laporte has dropped down the list of center backs at City, with new signing Josko Gvardiol and Nathan Ake ahead of him as left-sided defenders in the English Premier League champions' new three-at-the-back formation.

Along with Ronaldo and Mane, Al Nassr has also Alex Telles and Marcelo Brozovic as overseas players in its squad.

Al Nassr is one of four storied Saudi clubs effectively nationalized by the sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund, which claims assets of about $700 billion and is funding the kingdom's heavy spending on soccer.

Laporte revealed in a social media video he posted on Wednesday that he would be leaving City, 5 1/2 years after joining from Athletic Bilbao in Spain. He has won 13 major titles at City.

“When I first joined, I was excited about the prospect of winning trophies," Laporte said. “However, I could not have imagined the success we would go on to achieve together.”

Washington isn't expected to be a regular at Chelsea this season, having broken into Santos' team only in April.

Chelsea said he can play anywhere across the forward line but operates predominantly as a striker.

Washington has signed a seven-year deal with the option of an extra year.

Chelsea also signed 18-year-old Brazilian Angelo Gabriel from Santos in this transfer window.


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