Manchester City’s pursuit of Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci could be all but over after it emerged that the Citizens have opened talks with Everton over the transfer of John Stones.
Despite only assuming the role at the start of the summer, new City boss Pep Guardiola has immediately prioritised defensive reinforcements, with his search for a ball-playing centre-back who is able to start attacks, leading him to Bonucci and the Everton youngster.
Last month, a bid of €60 million was immediately knocked back by the Bianconeri for their star defender, and now it appears that Guardiola has focused his attentions elsewhere, with the BBC claiming that talks between the two Premier League clubs over Stones are at an advanced stage.
Bought from Barnsley for around €3.5m in 2013, the elegant 22-year-old England international was the subject of several failed bids from Chelsea before the start of the 2015/16 campaign, and has reportedly made it clear that he would like to make the short switch from Goodison Park to the Etihad Stadium as soon as possible.
With discussions under-way, all that remains now is for the Manchester outfit to meet the Toffees’ €60m valuation for Stones. It is understood that an initial cash-plus-player offer including Citizens fringe player Wilfried Bony was rejected outright by Everton officials, who would prefer a straight cash deal.
At this moment in time, it seems as though a transfer is very much on the cards, and while it is unknown if City will totally drop their interest in Bonucci, the likelihood is that the
Azzurri international will stay with the Italian champions for the forthcoming season if Stones joins the Etihad ranks.