Manchester City have stepped up their interest in Everton defender John Stones as they are set to welcome Pep Guardiola into the mix after the end of the current season. The Bayern Munich manager will be given funds to revamp his squad and has identified the 22-year-old as the man to lead his team from the back.
The Sunday People reports that City are willing to trade three players worth £75m ($109m) with Everton to sign Stones, who has been an ever-present member of the Toffees side. Having already secured a place in the England starting line-up, Stones is being heralded as a leader in the England back four to compete the 2016 European Championships in France. City are willing to trade the defender for striker Wilfried Bony, winger Jesus Navas and centre-half Eliaquim Mangala, who collectively cost the Manchester Club a fortune.
Everton, who have been massively underachieving this season, will be under pressure to keep their star players, with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman among the few who could be looking for a move elsewhere. City are hoping that their proposal would help Everton plug the gaps in their squad should such an exodus take place, something manager Roberto Martinez has to consider come the end of the season.
However, the Citizens will face competition from Chelsea and Manchester United, with both clubs having previously expressed interest in the player. Apart from them, clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid are also reportedly interested with Catalan centre-back Gerard Pique recently waxing lyrical about the defender in an interview.
United, who are primed to be taken over by Jose Mourinho next season, are likely to be favourites for his signature, given the Portuguese manager's interest in the player and the funds at his disposal. The former Chelsea manager had three bids rejected for Stones last summer at Stamford Bridge and was eventually sacked for his failure to rally his troops to yet another title challenge.