Home Football Report: England Defender At Centre Of £50m Battle Between Manchester United And City

Report: England Defender At Centre Of £50m Battle Between Manchester United And City

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Josip Drmic (2nd R) of Switzerland fights for the ball with (L-R) Gary Cahill, John Stones and Jack Wilshere of England during the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Switzerland and England on September 8, 2014 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

The Daily Star report that John Stones is part of a fierce bidding war between derby rivals Manchester United and City, fueled by the Mourinho/Guardiola rivalry.

According to Jeremy Cross, both managers have renewed their interest in young Everton star John Stones for different reasons.

As Chelsea boss this time last year, Jose Mourinho spent months chasing the defender, who was the subject of three bids from Chelsea – ranging from £20-30 million. Stones reportedly handed in a transfer request to leave Goodison Park at the time, but the move never came to fruition.

Now back in the Premier League at Manchester United, the Portuguese is keen on resuming his interest in the 22-year-old.

Everton's English defender John Stones (L) vies with Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Manchester City and Everton the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 27, 2016. Manchester City won the match 3-1. / AFP / Paul Ellis / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

On City’s end, new boss Pep Guardiola has entered the race, having missed out on young Frenchman, Aymeric Laporte, who signed a new deal with Athletic Bilbao.

While City would presumably have the financial muscle to compete with anyone in the market, The Star give two reasons why the odds of signing Stones are tipped in United’s favour.

Firstly, Laporte apparently had a buyout clause worth an eye-watering £55m – a bridge said to be too far for Pep. If Stones’ reported valuation of £50m rings true though (judging by the bids rejected last summer, this appears to be the case), it represents a similarly pricey barrier to a purchase.

Secondly, according to Cross:

“Mourinho is not prepared to miss out on getting Stones again – let alone to Guardiola – and will offer him a long-term deal worth around £150,000-a-week that he thinks the centre back will not be able to turn down.”

It appears that Stones in particular is of a high priority to Mourinho, who would successfully shore up United’s defence if the deals goes through, having already signed Eric Bailly from Villarreal.

Rumour ranking 3 - MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT

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Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.