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Laporte slams door on move by extending Athletic deal

Football Soccer - Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Spanish King's Cup - Camp Nou stadium, Barcelona - 27/1/16. Barcelona's Luis Suarez (R) fights for the ball against Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte. REUTERS/Albert Gea/Files
Football Soccer - Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Spanish King's Cup - Camp Nou stadium, Barcelona - 27/1/16. Barcelona's Luis Suarez (R) fights for the ball against Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte. REUTERS/Albert Gea/Files

REUTERS - French central defender Aymeric Laporte has pledged his immediate future to Athletic Bilbao after signing a new four-year contract at the La Liga club.

The under-21 international had been strongly linked with a move to Premier League side Manchester City by the Spanish and English media but the 22-year-old has opted to remain in Bilbao.

"I've had to think about it a lot in order to choose the best option for me and I have arrived to the conclusion that Athletic was the best solution," Laporte told the club's official website.

"I sign for four years and I'm thrilled and excited to continue in the club."

As part of the deal, Laporte has agreed to a release clause set at 65 million euros ($73.1 million) for the next two seasons, with the amount increasing to 70 million euros for the remainder of his contract.

Laporte, who joined the club in 2010, was promoted to the first team in the 2012-13 campaign and has become a regular since, starting 46 games in all competitions for Athletic last season.

($1 = 0.888934 euros)

(Reporting by Adriana Garcia; Editing by John O'Brien)

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