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Laporte to miss start of Man City’s title defence

London (AFP) – Aymeric Laporte will miss the start of Manchester City’s Premier League title defence after the Spain defender had surgery on a knee injury.

City manager Pep Guardiola revealed on Friday that Laporte needed the operation after struggling with the injury in the closing stages of last season.

The 28-year-old centre-back played through the pain barrier to help City win their fourth Premier League title in five seasons after a dramatic final-day victory against Aston Villa.

“Laporte is injured. He had knee surgery after last season, playing the last two or three games with an important injury. He made an incredible effort,” Guardiola told reporters.

“So far he is doing really well but you have to be careful with a knee. I think August he will be out, September I think maybe he will start to be with us.”

Laporte’s injury and the sale of Ukraine left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal have weakened Guardiola’s defensive options.

City have been linked with Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella and there have been reports that he has now handed in a transfer request at the Amex Stadium.

But Guardiola said: “He’s a Brighton player, I cannot say anything else.”

Guardiola did admit that left-back is an area where the club are looking to strengthen as Joao Cancelo is currently the only senior player available in the position.

“If it’s possible, yes. If it’s not, we stay with what we have,” Guardiola said.

City face Liverpool in the Community Shield at the King Power Stadium on Saturday in the traditional curtain raiser to the English top-flight season.

Guardiola’s men start their title defence at West Ham on August 7.

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