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John Stones close to £50 million move to Manchester City – reports

Manchester City are edging closer to signing one of their primary summer targets, John Stones, according to Saturday’s Telegraph and Daily Express.

Both newspapers report that City are willing to go as high as £50 million to sign the Everton and England defender, which could mean matching the world-record transfer fee for a defender that PSG paid Chelsea for David Luiz in 2014.

City may not have to pay that amount in full, at least not all at once, with both Paul Joyce (Express) and Matt Law (Telegraph) suggesting they will start the bidding lower than Everton’s £50 million asking price, but the Merseyside club are notoriously tough negotiators as City found out in 2009 when the Blues shelled out around £22 million for Joleon Lescott.

According to the Telegraph, City haven’t balked at the idea of eventually going up to £50 million to sign Stones, with a formal bid imminent. Everton will reluctantly sell when City match or get close enough to their extremely high valuation of a talented player with great potential, but one who didn’t have the best of seasons.

With Aymeric Laporte turning down a move to the Etihad, Txiki Begiristain is determined to land Stones, a centre-back identified by Pep Guardiola to strengthen the defence, and a technically gifted player who can comfortably pass out from the back in the style that Pep likes.

Both newspapers believe Stones wants to work with Guardiola, and the Telegraph claims the 22-year-old has made his mind up to join City, something that was an open secret in the England camp at Euro 2016.

Signing Stones would mean four England internationals would be on the books at City – the others being Joe Hart, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph – and Pep Guardiola has a history of having a strong home-grown presence in his squads.

Much like Gündoğan and Nolito, John Stones to Manchester City is almost becoming a matter of when, rather than if. First of all, though, City must negotiate a price for the England defender and he won’t come cheap.

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