Manchester United have been chasing 21 year old Everton centre-back John Stones for months and are ready to snap up the deal in the summer window. According to a report from Daily Star they have now received a major boost.
Old Trafford hierarchy had been preparing their plan to battle Chelsea, who saw their three bids rejected last year, for his signature.
The Blues are in the market to sign a top central defender who can replace 35 year old John Terry as the skipper is out of contract at the end of this season.
But now the Blues have suddenly pulled out the race to land Stones.
Incoming boss Antonio Conte is believed to see his faithful Italy centre back – Leonardo Bonucci – as a better option.
The Daily Star Sunday even reports, Conte is not at all convinced about Stones.
The Italian manager regards Juventus’ 28-year-old Bonucci as good value, with the Juve defender is worth around £25m. It is half the fee for Stones if Everton can be persuaded to sell the Englishman.
But United would not get him easy as fierce rivals Manchester City and Spanish champions Barcelona both interested secure the service of the promising defender this summer.
The 21-year-old England international had been on the radar of several top Premier League clubs during the summer, most notably the Red Devils and Chelsea before finally pledging his immediate future to the Merseyside club.
Everton’s hard-line stance in flatly rejecting every Chelsea bid for John Stones has been both admirable and questionable in equal measure.
On the one hand, Everton is standing up for themselves by refusing to let their star defender leave; on the other, they are refusing an exorbitant fee for a young talent still fighting to prove.
It is believed, however, that although Stones has extended his stay at Goodison Park, his new deal contains a fixed buy-out clause enabling him to talk to other clubs should a mega-offer arise.
Stones, who was a boyhood Manchester United fan, was signed by David Moyes whilst the Scot was in charge at Everton, with the former Sociedad manager clinching his signature from under the nose of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The defender is simply irreplaceable. Destined to be one of the best in his position, no amount of money would make up for his departure.
Meanwhile, there has been only one player at Manchester United who has done alright from the start of the season. Chris Smalling may not be the biggest name in the team but he has been the most consistent this term and has helped Manchester United do extremely well in their defence.
He might not have the greatest stats when it comes to attacking but he has been the one rock in a makeshift defence who looks to be doing his job well, even if he does lose concentration from time to time.
This can be fixed if he is teamed up with a better central defender than Daley Blind, who in all honesty is not a defender but is having to do a role for Louis van Gaal.