John Stones
John Stones has attracted interest from Manchester UnitedGetty

Manchester United have entered the race to sign Everton defender John Stones, according to the Daily Mirror.

Chelsea have already had two bids rejected for the player, according to the Daily Mail, but United are prepared to offer them a player plus cash deal with Jonny Evans going the other way.

Louis van Gaal has failed to land his top target Sergio Ramos this summer after the player reportedly acquiesced to signing a new deal, according to Marca, and is bent on signing Stones to spruce up his defence, which has been found out in the pre-season games played thus far.

Van Gaal has confirmed that Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw and Daley Blind will start the game against Tottenham on 8 August with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling fighting it out for the final spot. Should Van Gaal manage to sign Stones, he will slot right into the mix alongside Blind, giving United some real strength in depth in that position.

It would be United's fifth signing for the summer, having already secured the signature of Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Darmian and Memphis Depay thus far.

However, they would face major competition from Chelsea, who are set to make a third bid for the player, with Jose Mourinho having earmarked him as a long-term replacement for John Terry, who has entered his mid thirties.

Everton are reportedly displeased at Chelsea's public pursuit of their star defender and would welcome interest from United to put off the Blues. The Toffees are adamant that they are not interested in selling their star player, but may be willing to budge if a team meets their valuation.

Stones was part of the U-21 side that bowed out of the group stages of the European Championships this summer and is widely regarded as the best defensive prospect in the English top flight.