Despite competition from Chelsea, Manchester United are reportedly considering a record-breaking £50m offer for Everton defender John Stones.
It is claimed that the Red Devils have made the England international their number one transfer target for next summer regardless of whether or not Louis van Gaal is still in charge, according to the Daily Star.
Stones was heavily linked with Chelsea during the summer as the Premier League champions saw several bids rejected by Everton, with their third and final offer totalling £38m.
It remains to be seen whether or not the reported £50m figure will be enough to prise the 21-year-old away from Goodison Park, although he did hand in a transfer request during the last transfer window in order to try and push through a deal.
While the Toffees held firm, the talented youngster has since withdrawn that request and has continued to play an important role in Roberto Martinez’s success so far this season.
Chelsea are expected to renew their interest in Stones next summer as they continue to try and bring in a future replacement for John Terry, although if they are unable to secure a place in the top four then it is believed that they will be at a disadvantage.
Meanwhile, if the reports are true over the fee, it would break the current record for a defender which stands at £42m after Manchester City signed Eliaquim Mangala from Porto in 2014.
With a lack of depth and quality in his squad after several injuries to his backline, Van Gaal could arguably do with Stones for the remainder of this season. However, that is unlikely to happen and so the Dutchman will hope to ensure that he is still in charge come the start of the next campaign in order to welcome the defender to the club himself.